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A DOLL'S HOUSE 



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A DOLL'S HOUSE 



A PLAY IN THREE ACTS 



BY 



HENRIK IBSEN 



TRANSLATED BY 



WILLIAM ARCHER 




THOMAS NELSON AND SONS, Ltd. 
LONDON AND EDINBURGH 



NOTE 

This play is fully protected by copyright. No performance 
may be given unless permission has first been obtained from 
Messrs. Curtis Brown, Ltd., 6 Henrietta Street, London, W.C.z, 
The ustMl fee for an amateur performance is £3, 3s. 



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jar-'»oi; 



INTRODUCTION 

This is not only one of the most frequently acted and 
discussed of all Ibsen's twenty odd plays, it marks a great 
turning-point in his career, and therefore in the history of 
European drama. His earlier plays, romantic and his- 
torical, had given him a considerable reputation in 
Scandinavia, and The Pillars of Society (1877) had proved 
popular in Germany also, but A Doll's House made him 
famous throughout Europe and began a new dramatic era. 

The first two and a half acts show nothing remarkable, 
interesting as they are. Though the characters are vitalized 
by the creative power of the poet in Ibsen, which was 
fortunately never subdued to realism, the tone and conduct 
of the whole are those of the French " well-made " play, 
with many little theatrical touches in the use of coincidence 
and contrast, the tarantella scene, and the working out 
of Nora's ti'agedy against the bright tinsel background of 
Christmas festivities. None of this perturbed audiences of 
the 'eighties and 'nineties, who looked forward comfortably 
to the conventional happy ending. It was the ending 
which Avas revolutionary. The tense, significant dialogue 
between Nora and Torvald, and Nora's departure, which 
raised the whole play to a high level by following truth of 
character instead of stage convention, left many playgoers 
outraged ; it was not long before Nora's conduct was being 
hotly discussed all over northern and western Europe, and 
her creator was being as hotly condemned. But Ibsen had 
realized in that concluding scene the possibilities of " social 
drama," and proceeded to develop them in his greatest, 
most characteristic work. His next play, Ghosts, the final 
break with his early romanticism, made him for his own 
time " the most modern of the moderns." 

We can still discuss with interest whether Nora was right 
or merely selfish in leaving home, but it is more pertinent 
to ask, for example, whether the swift development of 
her character has been made convincing, and whether Dr. 
Rank's story contributes harmoniously to the total effect. 
It is as drama that any play must finally be judged. 

J. H. 



CHARACTERS 

TORVALD HeLMER. 

Nora, his wife. 

Doctor Rank. 

Mrs. Linden.* 

Nils Krogstad. 

The Helmers' Three Children. 

Anna,! their nurse. 

A Maid-servant (Ellen). 

A Porter. 

The action passes in Helmer's house {aflat) in Christiania. 



Et Dukkehjent was completed in September jcS^j^. at Amalfi, not far 
from Naples. It was published in Copenhagen on December 4, 
acted at the Royal Theatre, Copenhagen, about a fortnight later, and 
was soon being acted, read, and discussed all over Scandinavia and 
Germany. In 1885 a London amateur society gave a performance of 
the play, in Miss Lord's translation ; on June 7, 1889, the first English 
professional performance was given at the Novelty Theatre (after- 
wards renamed the Great Queen Street Theatre), London, with Janet 
Achurch as Nora. On the Continent the famous actresses who chose 
this part included Eleonora Duse and Madame Re jane. Indeed, says 
William Archer, " there is probably no country in the world, possessing 
a theatre on the European model, in which A Doll's House has not been 
more or less frequently acted." 

The play is here reprinted, by kind permission of Messrs. William 
Heinemann, Ltd., from the standard English edition : The Collected 
Works of Ibsen, translated and edited with introductions by William 
Archer, in twelve volumes. 

It will be seen that Archer uses spaced type instead of italics. 
to indicate emphasis. 

* In the original " Fru Linde." 
t In the original " Anne-Marie." 



VI 



A DOLL'S HOUSE 



ACT I 

A room, comfortably and tastefully, hut not expensively, 
furnished. In the hack, on the right, a door leads to the 
hall ; on the left another door leads to Helmer's study. 
Between the two doors a pianoforte. In the middle of the 
left wall a door, and nearer the front a window. Near the 
window a round tahle with armchairs and a small sofa. 
In the right wall, somewhat to the hack, a door, and against 
the same wall, farther forward, a porcelain stove ; in front 
of it a couple of armchairs and a rocking-chair. Between 
the stove and the side-door a small tahle. Engravings on 
the walls. A whatnot with china and hric-d-hrac. A small 
bookcase filled with handsomely hound books. Carpet. A 
fire in the stove. It is a winter day. 

A hell rings in the hall outside. Presently the outer door 
of the flat is heard to open. Then Nora enters, humming 
gaily. She is in outdoor dress, and carries several parcels, 
which she lays on the right-hand tahle. She leaves the door 
into the hall open, and a Porter is seen outside, carrying a 
Christmas-tree and a basket, which he gives to the maid- 
servant who has opened the dour. 

Nora. Hide the Christmas-tree carefully, Ellen ; the 
children must on no account see it before this evening, 
when it's lighted up. {To the Porter, taking out her 
purse.) How much ? 

Porter. Fifty ore.* 

♦ About sixpence. There are loo ore in a krone or crown, which is 
worth thirteenpence halfpenny. 

892 7 



Act I] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Nora. There is a crown. No, keep the change. 
[The Porter thanks her and goes. Nora shuts the door. 
She continues smiling in quiet glee as she takes off her 
outdoor things. Taking from her pocket a hag of 
macaroons, she eats one or two. Then she goes on 
tiptoe to her husband's door and listens.'] 

Nora. Yes, he is at home. 
[She begins humming again, crossing to the table on the 
right.] 

Helmer (in his room). Is that my lark twittering there ? 

Nora [busy opening some of her parcels). Yes, it is. 

Helmer. Is it the squirrel frisking around ? 

Nora. Yes ! 

Helmer. When did the squirrel get home ? 

Nora. Just this minute. (Hides the bag of macaroons 
in her pocket and wipes her mouth.) Come here, Torvald, 
and see what I've been buying. 

Helmer. Don't interrupt me. (A little later he opens 
the door and looks in, pen in hand.) Buying, did you 
say? What! All that? Has m37_ little spendthrift 
been making the money fly again ? 

Nora. Why, Torvald, surely w6 can afford to launch 
out a little now. It's the first Christmas we haven't had 
to pinch. 

Helmer. Come, come ; we can't afford to squander 
money. 

Nora. Oh yes, Torvald, do let us squander a httle, 
now — just the least little bit ! You know you'U soon be 
earning heaps of money. 

Helmer. Yes, from New Year's Day. But there's a 
whole quarter before my first salary is due. 

Nora. Never mind ; we can borrow in the meantime. 

Helmer. Nora ! (He goes up to her and takes her play- 
fully by the ear) Still my httle featherbrain ! Suppos- 
ing I borrowed a thousand crowns to-day, and you made 
ducks and drakes of them during Christmas week, and 
then on New Year's Eve a tile blew off the roof and 

knocked my brains out 

8 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act i 

Nora (laying her hand on his mouth). Hush ! How 
can you talk so horridly ? 

Helmer. But supposing it were to happen — what then ? 

Nora. If anything so dreadful happened, it would be 
all the same to me whether I was in debt or not. 

Helmer. But what about the creditors ? 

Nora. They ! Who cares for them ? They're only 
strangers. 

Helmer. Nora, Nora ! What a woman you are ! But 
seriously, Nora, you know my principles on these points. 
No debts ! No borrowing ! Home life ceases to be ixs^ 
and beautiful as soon as it is founded on borrowmg^nd 
debt We two have held out bravely till now, and we 
are not going to give in at the last. 

Nora (going to the fireplace). Very well — as you please, 
Torvald. 

Helmer (following her). Come, come ; my lit tle la rk 
mustn't droop her wings like that. What ? Is my 
squirrel in the sulks ? (Takes out his purse.) Nora, 
what do you think I have here ? 

Nora (turning round quickly). Money ! 

Helmer. There ! (Gives her some notes.) Of course I 
know all sorts of things are wanted at Christmas. 

Nora (counting). Ten, twenty, thirty, forty. Oh, 
thank you, thank you, Torvald ! This will go a long 
way. 

Helmer. I should hope so. 

Nora. Yes, indeed ; a long way ! But come here, 
and let me show you all I've been buying. And so 
cheap ! Look, here's a new suit for Ivar, and a little 
sword. Here are a horse and a trumpet for Bob. And 
here are a doll and a cradle for Emmy. They're only 
common, but they're good enough for her to pull to 
pieces. And dress-stuffs and kerchiefs for the servants. 
I ought to have got something better for old Anna. 

Helmer. And what's in that other parcel ? 

Nora (crying out). No, Torvald, you're not to see that 
until this evening ! 

9 



Act I] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Helmer. Oh ! Ah ! But now tell me, you little 
spendthrift, have you thought of anything for your- 
self? 

Nora. For myself ! Oh, I don't want anything. 

Helmer. Nonsense ! Just tell me so mething s e nsibl e 
you would like to have. ~~ - '" " '" 

Nora. No, really I don't know of anything — ^well, 
hsten, Torvald 

Helmer. Well? 

Nora {playing with his coat-buttons, without looking him 
in the face) . If you really want to give me something, 
you might, you know — you might 

Helmer. Well ? Out with it ! 

Nora {quickly). You might give me money, Torvald. 
Only just what you think you can spare ; then I can 
buy something with it later on. 

Helmer. But, Nora 

Nora. Oh, please do, dear Torvald, please do ! I 
should hang the money in lovely gilt paper on the 
Christmas-tree. Wouldn't that be fun ? 

Helmer. What do they call the birds that are always 
making the money fly ? ^^^^ O^J 

Nora. Yes, I know — spendthrifts,* of course. But 
please do as I ask you, Torvald. Then I shall have 
time to think what I want most. Isn't that very 
sensible, now ? 

Helmer {smiling) . Certainly ; that is to say, if you 
really kept the money I gave you, and really spent it on 
something for yourself. But it all goes in housekeeping, 
and for all manner of useless things, and then I have to 
pay up again. 

Nora. But, Torvald 

Helmer. Can you deny it, Nora dear ? {He puts his 
arm round her.) It's a sweet little lark, but it gets 
through a lot of money. No one would believe how 
much it costs a man to keep such a little bird as you. 

• Spittefugl, literally " playbird," means a gambler. 
10 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act i 

Nora. For shame ! How can you say so ? Why, I 
save as much as ever I can. 

Helmer (laughing). Very true — as much as you can — 
but that's precisely nothing. 

Nora {hums and smiles with covert glee). H'm ! If you 
only knew, Torvald, what expenses we larks and squir- 
rels have. 

Helmer. You're a strange little being ! Just Uke your 
father — always on the look-out for all the money you 
can lay your hands on ; but the moment you have it, it 
seems to slip through your fingers ; you never know 
what becomes of it. Well, one must take you as you 
are. It's in the blood. Yes, Nora, that sort of thing is 
hereditary. 

Nora. I wish I had inherited many of papa's 
qualities. 

Helmer. And I don't wish you anything but just what 
you are — my own, sweet little song-bird. But I say — 
it strikes me you look so — so — what shall I call it ? — so 
suspicious to-day 

Nora. Do I ? 

Helmer. You do, indeed. Look me full in the face. 

Nora (looking at him). Well ? 

Helmer (threatening with his finger). Hasn't the little 
swe^t-tooth been playing pranks to-day ? 

Nora. No ; how can you think such a thing ! 

Helmer. Didn't she just look in at the confectioner's ? 

Nora. No, Torvald ; really 

Helmer. Not to sip a little jelly ? 

Nora. No, certainly not. 

Helmer. Hasn't she even nibbled a macaroon or two ? 

Nora. No, Torvald, indeed, indeed ! 

Helmer. Well, well, well ; of course I'm only joking. 

Nora (goes to the table on the right). I shouldn't think 
of doing what you disapprove of. 

Helmer. No, I'm sure of that ; and, besides, you've 

given me your word (Going towards her.) Well, 

keep your little Christmas secrets to yourself, Nora 

11 



Act I] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

darling. The Christmas-tree will bring them all to 
light, I daresay. 

Nora. Have you remembered to invite Doctor Rank ? 

Helmer. No. But it's not necessary ; he'll come as a 
matter of course. Besides, I shall ask him when he 
looks in to-day. I've ordered some capital wine. Nora, 
you can't think how I look forward to this evening. 

Nora. And I too. How the children will enjoy them- 
selves, Torvald ! 

Helmer. Ah, it's glorious to feel that one has an 
assured position and ample means. Isn't it delightful 
to think of ? 

Nora. Oh, it's wonderful ! 

Helmer. Do you remember last Christmas ? For three 
whole weeks beforehand you shut yourself up every 
evening till long past midnight to make flowers for 
the Christmas-tree, and all sorts of other marvels that 
were to have astonished us. I was never so bored 
in my life. 

Nora. I didn't bore myself at all. 

Helmer {smiling). But it came to little enough in the 
end, Nora. 

Nora. Oh, are you going to tease me about that 
again ? How could I help the cat getting in and pulling 
it all to pieces ? 

Helmer. To be sure you couldn't, my poor little Nora. 
You did your best to give us all pleasure, and that's the 
main point. But, all the same, it's a good thing the 
hard times are over. 

Nora. Oh, isn't it wonderful ? 

Helmer. Now I needn't sit here boring myself all alone ; 
and you needn't tire your blessed eyes and your delicate 
little fingers 

Nora (clapping her hands). No, I needn't, need I, 
Torvald ? Oh, how wonderful it is to think of ! (Takes 
his arm.) And now I'll tell you how I think we ought 

to manage, Torvald. As soon as Christmas is over 

(The hall-door bell rings.) Oh, there's a ring ! (Arrang- 

12 



A DOLL'S H0US:E [Act i 

ing the room.) That's somebody come to call. How 
tiresome ! 

Helmer. I'm " not at home " to callers ; remxmber 
that. 

Ellen (in the doorway). A lady to see you, ma'am. 

Nora. Show her in. 

Ellen (to Helmer). And the doctor has just come, sir. 

Helmer. Has he gone into my study ? 

Ellen. Yes, sir. '*^" cv^^*^ 

[Helmer goes into his study. Ellen ushers in Mrs. Linden, ^ . :*^ 
in travelling costume, and goes out, closing the door.] ' .^ 

Mrs. Linden (embarrassed and hesitating). How do you i- V .. ^ 
do, Nora ? ^V" " 

Nora (doubtfully). How do you do ? , ^^^'^ 

Mrs. Linden. I see you don't recognize me. 

Nora. No, I don't think — oh yes ! — I believe 

(Suddenly brightening.) What, Christina ! Is it really 
you? 

Mrs. Linden. Yes ; really I ! 

Nora. Christina ! And to think I didn't know you ! 

But how could I (More softly.) How changed 

you are, Christina ! 

Mrs. Linden. Yes, no doubt. In nine or ten years 

Nora. Is it really so long since we met ? Yes, so it 
is. Oh, the last eight years have been a happy time, I 
can tell you. And now you have come to town ? AH 
that long journey in mid-winter ! How brave of you ! 

Mrs. Linden. I arrived by this morning's steamer. 

Nora. To have a merry Christmas, of course. Oh, 
how delightful ! Yes, we will have a merry Christmas. 
Do take your things off. Aren't you frozen ? (Helping 
her.) There ; now we'll sit cosily by the fire. No, you 
take the armchair ; I shall sit in this rocking-chair. 
(Seizes her hands.) Yes, now I can see the dear old face 

again. It was only at the first glance But you're 

a little paler, Christina — and perhaps a little thinner. 

Mrs. Linden. And much, much older, Nora. 

Nora, Yes, perhaps a little older — not much — ever 
13 



Act I] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

so little. {She suddenly checks herself; seriously.) Oh, 
what a thoughtless wretch I am ! Here I sit chattering 
on, and Dear, dear Christina, can you forgive me ! 

Mrs. Linden. What do vou mean, Nora ? 

Nora (softly). Poor Christina ! I forgot : you are a 
widow. 

Mrs. Linden. Yes ; my husband died three years ago. 

Nora. I know, I know ; I saw it in the papers. Oh, 
believe me, Christina, I did mean to write to you ; but 
I kept putting it ofif, and something always came in 
the way. 

Mrs. Linden. I can quite understand that, Nora dear. 

Nora. No, Christina ; it was horrid of me. Oh, you 
poor darling ! how much you must have gone through ! 
— And he left you nothing ? 

Mrs. Linden. Nothing. 

Nora. And no children ? 

Mrs. Linden. None. 

Nora. Nothing, nothing at all ? 

Mrs. Linden. Not even a sorrow or a longing to dwell 
upon. 

Nora (looking at her incredulously). My dear Christina, 
how is that possible ? 

Mrs. Linden (smiling sadly and stroking her hair). Oh, 
it happens so sometimes, Nora. 

Nora. So utterly alone ! How dreadful that must be ! 
I have three of the loveliest children. I can't show them 
to you just now ; they're out with their nurse. But 
now you must tell me everything. 

Mrs. Linden. No, no ; I want you to tell me 

Nora. No, you must begin ; I won't be egotistical 
to-day. To-day I'll think only of you. Oh ! but I 
must tell you one thing — perhaps you've heard of our 
great stroke of fortune ? 

Mrs. Linden. No. What is it ? 

Nora. Only think ! my husband has been made 
manager of the Joint Stock Bank. 

Mrs. Linden. Your husband ! Oh, how fortunate ! 
14 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act i 

Nora. Yes ; isn't it ? A lawyer's position is so un- 
certain, you see, especially when he won't touch any 
business that's the least bit — shady, as of course Torvald 
never would ; and there I quite agree with him. Oh ! 
you can imagine how glad we are. He is to enter on his 
new position at the New Year, and then he'll have a 
large salary, and percentages. In future we shall 
able to live quite differently — just as we please, in fact 
Oh, Christina, I feel so light-hearted and happy! 
delightful to have lots of money, and no need to worry 
about things, isn't it ? 

Mrs. Linden. Yes ; at any rate it must be delightful 
to have what you need. 

Nora. No, not only what you need, but heaps of 
money — h caps! 

Mrs. Linden {smiling). Nora, Nora, haven't you learnt 
reason yet ? In our schooldays you were a shocking 
little spendthrift. 

Nora (quietly smiling) . Yes ; that's what Torvald says 
I am still. {Holding up her forefinger.) But " Nora, 
Nora " is not so silly as you all think. Oh ! I haven't 
had the chance to be much of a spendthrift. We have 
both had to work. 

Mrs. Linden. You too ? 

Nora. Yes, light fancy work : crochet, and embroidery, 
and things of that sort ; {Carelessly) and other work too. 
You know, of course, that Torvald left the Government 
service when we were married. He had little chance of 
promotion, and of course he required to make more 
money. But in the first year after our marriage he over- 
worked himself terribly. He had to undertake all sorts 
of extra work, you know, and to slave early and late. 
He couldn't stand it, and fell dangerously ill. Then 
the doctors declared he must go to the South. 

Mrs. Linden. You spent a whole year in Italy, didn't 
you? 

Nora. Yes, we did. It wasn't easy to manage, I can 
tell you. It was just after Ivar's birth. But of course 

15 2 



e a 
be ,--v 

ict. ] 
It's / 



Act I] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

we had to go. Oh, it was a wonderful, delicious journey ! 
And it saved Torvald's life. But it cost afrightful lot of 
money, Christina. 

Mrs. Linden. So 1 should think. 

Nora. Twelve hundred dollars ! Four thousand eight 
hundred crowns ! * Isn't that a lot of money ? 

Mrs. Linden. How lucky you had the money to spend I 

Nora. We got it from father, you must know. 

Mrs. Linden. Ah, I see. He died just about that time, 
didn't he ? 

Nora. Yes. Christina, just then. And only think ! I 
couldn't go and nurse him ! I was expecting little Ivar's 
birth daily ; and then I had my poor sick Torvald to 
attend to. Dear, kind old father ! I never saw him 
again, Christina. Oh ! that's the hardest thing I have 
had to bear since my marriage. 

Mrs. Linden. I know how fond you were of him. But 
then you went to Italy ? 

Nora. Yes ; you see, we had the money, and the 
doctors said we must lose no time. We started a month 
later. 

Mrs. Linden. And your husband came back com- 
pletely cured ? 

Nora. Sound as a bell. 

Mrs. Linden. But — the doctor ? 

Nora. What do you mean ? 

Mrs. Linden. I thought as I came in your servant 
announced the doctor 

Nora. Oh yes ; Doctor Rank. But he doesn't come 
professionally. He is our best friend, and never lets a 
day pass without looking in. No, Torvald hasn't had 
an hour's illness since that time. And the children are 
so healthy and well, and so am I. (Jumps up and claps 
her hands.) Oh, Christina, Christina, what a wonderful 
thing it is to live and to be happy ! — Oh, but it's really 



* The dollar (4s. 6d.) was the old unit of currency m Norway. The 
crown was substituted for it shortly before the date of this play. 

16 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act i 

too horrid of Ine ! Here am I talking about nothing 
but my own concerns. {Seats herself upon a footstool 
close to Christina, and lays her arms on her friend's lap.) 
Oh, don't be angry with me ! Now tell me, is it really 
true that you didn't love your husband ? What made 
you marry him, then ? 

Mrs. Linden. My mother was still alive, you see, bed- 
ridden and helpless ; and then I had my two younger 
brothers to think of. I didn't think it would be right 
for me to refuse him. 

Nora. Perhaps it wouldn't have been. I suppose he 
was rich then ? 

Mrs. Linden. Very well off, I beUeve. But his busi- 
ness was uncertain. It fell to pieces at his death, and 
there was nothing left. 

Nora. And then ? 

Mrs. Linden. Then I had to fight my way by keeping 
a shop, a little school, anything I could turn my hand 
to. The last three years have been one long struggle 
for me. But now it is over, Nora. My poor mother 
no longer needs me ; she is at rest. And the boys are 
in business, and can look after themselves. 

Nora. How free your life must feel ! 

Mrs. Linden. No, Nora ; only inexpressibly empty. 
No one to live for ! (Stands up restlessly.) That's why 
I could not bear to stay any longer in that out-of-the- 
way corner. Here it must be easier to find something 
to take one up — to occupy one's thoughts. H I could 
only get some settled employment — some office work. 

Nora. But, Christina, that's such drudgery, and you 
look worn-out already. It would be ever so much 
better for you to go to some watering-place and rest. 

Mrs. Linden {going to the window). I have no father f 
to give me the money, Nora. 

Nora {rising). Oh, don't be vexed with me. 

Mrs. Linden {going to her). My dear Nora, don't you 
be vexed with me. The worst of a position like mine is 
that it makes one so bitter. You have no one to work 

17 



Act I] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

for, yet you have to be always on the strain. You must 
live, and so you become selfish. When I heard of the 
happy change in your fortunes — can you believe it ? — 
I was glad for my own sake more than for yours. 

Nora. How do you mean ? Ah, I see ! You think 
Torvald can perhaps do something for you ? 

Mrs. Linden. Yes, I thought so. 

Nora. And so he shall, Christina. Just you leave it 
all to me. I shall lead up to it beautifully ! — I shall 
think of some delightful plan to put him in a good 
humour ! Oh, I should so love to help you. 

Mrs. Linden. How good of you, Nora, to stand by me 
so warmly ! Doubly good in you, who know so little of 
the troubles and burdens of life. 

Nora. I ? I know so Uttle of ? 

Mrs. Linden {smiling). Oh, well — a little fancy-work, 
and so forth. — You're a child, Nora. 

Nora (tosses her head and paces the room). Oh, come, 
you mustn't be so patronizing ! 

Mrs. Linden. No ? 

Nora. You're like the rest. You all think I'm fit for 
nothing really serious 

Mrs. Linden. Well, well 

Nora. You think I've had no troubles in this weary 
world. 

Mrs. Linden. My dear Nora, you've just told me all 
your troubles. 

Nora. Pooh — those trifles ! (Softly.) I haven't told 
you the great thing. 

Mrs. Linden. The gr^^at thing ? What do you 
mean ? 

Nora. I know you look down upon me, Christina ; 
but you have no right to. You are proud of having 
worked so hard and so long for your mother. 

Mrs. Linden. I am sure I don't look down upon any 
one ; but it's true I am both proud and glad when I 
remember that I was able to keep my mother's last days 
free from care. 

18 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act i 

Nora. And you're proud to think of what you have 
done for your brothers, too. 

Mrs. Linden. Have I not the right to be ? 

Nora. Yes, indeed. But now let me tell you, Christina 
— I, too, have something to be proud and glad of. 

Mrs. Linden. I don't doubt it. But what do you 



mean 



Nora. Hush ! Not so loud. Only think, if Torvald 
were to hear ! He mustn't — not for worlds ! No one 
must know about it, Christina — no one but you. 

Mrs. Linden. Why, what can it be ? 

Nora. Come over here. (Draws her down beside her on 
the sofa.) Yes, Christina — I, too, have something to be 
proud and glad of. I saved Torvald's life. 

Mrs. Linden. Saved his life ? How ? 

Nora. I told you about our going to Italy. Torvald 
would have died but for that. 

Mrs. Linden. Well — and your father gave you the 
money. 

Nora [smiling). Yes, so Torvald and every one be-i 
lieves ; but ' 

Mrs. Linden. But ? 

Nora. Papa didn't give us one penny. It was / that 
found the money. 

Mrs. Linden. You ? All that money ? 

Nora. Twelve hundred dollars. Four thousand eight 
hundred crowns. What do you say to that ? 

Mrs. Linden. My dear Nora, how did you manage it ? 
Did you win it in the lottery ? 

Nora (contemptuously). In the lottery ? Pooh ! Any 
one could have done that! 

Mrs. Linden. Then wherever did you get it from ? 

Nora (hums and smiles mysteriously). H'm ; tra-la- 
la-la ! 

Mrs. Linden. Of course you couldn't borrow it. 

Nora. No ? Why not ? 

Mrs. Linden. Why, a wife can't borrow without her 
husband's consent. 

19 



r^ 



Act I] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Nora {tossing her head). Oh ! when the wife has some 
idea of business, and knows how to set about things 

Mrs. Linden. But, Nora, I don't understand 

Nora. Well, you needn't. I never said I borrowed 
the money. There are many ways I may have got it. 
(Throws herself back on the sofa.) I may have got it from 
some admirer. When one is so — attractive as I am 

Mrs. Linden. You're too silly, Nora. 

Nora. Now I'm sure you're dying of curiosity, 
Christina 

Mrs. Linden. Listen to me, Nora dear : haven't you 
been a little rash ? 

Nora (sitting upright again). Is it rash to save one's 
husband's hfe ? 

Mrs. Linden. I think it was rash of you, without his 
knowledge 

Nora. But it would have been fatal for him to know ! 
Can't you understand that ? He wasn't even to suspect 
how ill he was. The doctors came to m'^^ privately and 
told me his life was in danger — that nothing could save 
him but a winter in the South. Do you think I didn't 
try diplomacy first ? I told him how I longed to have 
a trip abroad, like other young wives ; I wept and 
prayed ; I said he ought to think of my condition, and 
not to thwart me ; and then I hinted that he could 
borrow the money. But then, Christina, he got almost 
angry. He said I was frivolous, and that it was his 
duty as a husband not to yield to my whims and fancies 
— so he called them. Very well, thought I, but saved 
you must be ; and then I found the way to do it. 

Mrs. Linden. And did your husband never learn from 
your father that the money was not from him ? 

Nora. No ; never. Papa died at that very time. I 
meant to have told him all about it, and begged him to 
say nothing. But he was so ill — unhappily, it wasn't 
necessary. 

Mrs. Linden. And you have never confessed to your 
husband ? 

20 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act i 

Nora. Good heavens ! What can you be thinking of ? 
Tell him, when he has such a loathing of debt ! And 
besides — how painful and humiliating it would be for \ 
Torvald, with his manly self-respect, to know that he ' 
owed anything to me ! It would utterly upset the 
relation between us ; our beautiful, happy home would 
never again be what it is. 

Mrs. Linden. Will you never tell him ? 

Nora (thoughtfully, half-smiling). Yes, some time per- 
haps — many, many years hence, when I'm — not so 
pretty. You mustn't laugh at me ! Of course I mean 
when Torvald is not so much in love with me as he is 
now ; when it doesn't amuse him any longer to see me 
dancing about, and dressing up and acting. Then it 
might be well to have something in reserve. [Breaking 
off.) Nonsense ! nonsense ! That time will never come. | 
Now, what do you say to my grand secret, Christina ? i 
Am I fit for nothing now ? You may believe it has cost 
me a lot of anxiety. It has been no joke to meet my 
engagements punctually. You must know, Christina, 
that in business there are things called instalments, and 
quarterly interest, that are terribly hard to provide for. 
So I've had to pinch a little here and there, wherever I 
could. I couldn't save much out of the housekeeping, 
for of course Torvald had to live weU. And I couldn't 
let the children go about badly dressed ; aU I got for 
them, I spent on them, the blessed darlings ! 

Mrs. Linden. Poor Nora ! So it had to come out of 
your own pocket-money ? 

Nora. Yes, of course. After all, the whole thing was 
my doing. When Torvald gave me money for clothes, 
and so on, I never spent more than half of it ; I always 
bought the simplest and cheapest things. It's a mercy 
that everything suits me so well — Torvald never had \ 
any suspicions. But it was often very hard, Christina 
dear. For it's nice to be beautifully dressed — now, 
isn't it ? 

Mrs. Linden, Indeed it is. 
21 






Act I] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Nora. Well, and besides that, I made money in otfier 

ways. Last winter I was so lucky — I got a heap of 

\ copying to do. I shut myself up every evening, and 

1 wrote far into the night. Oh, sometimes I was so tired, 

so tired. And yet it was splendid to work in that way nj^ 

and earn money. I almost felt as if I was a man. ♦^"^ 

Mrs. Linden. Then how much have you been able to ^^ 
4)ay off ? : '^ 

Nora. Well, I can't precisely say. It's^ difficult to 
keep that sort of business clear. I ohTylEnow that I've 
paid everything I could scrape together. Sometimes I 
really didn't know where to turn. (Smiles.) Then I 
used to sit here and pretend that a rich old gentleman 
was in love with ine 

Mrs. Linden. What ! What gentleman ? 

Nora. Oh, nobody ! — that he was dead now, and that 
when his will was opened, there stood in large letters : 
" Pay over at once everything of which I die possessed 
to that charming person, Mrs. Nora Helmer." 

Mrs. Linden. But, my dear Nora — what gentleman 
do you mean ? 

Nora. Oh dear, can't you understand ? There wasn't 
any old gentleman : it was only what I used to dream 
and dream when I was at my wits' end for money. But 
it doesn't matter now — the tiresome old creature may 
stay where he is for me. I care nothing for him or his 
wiU ; for now my troubles are over. (Springing up.) 
Oh, Christina, how glorious it is to think of ! Free from 
I all anxiety ! Free, quite free. To be able to play and 
i romp about with the children ; to have things tasteful 
and pretty in the house, exactly as Torvald likes it ! 
And then the spring will soon be here, with the great 
blue sky. Perhaps then we shall have a little holiday. 
Perhaps I shall see the sea again. Oh, what a wonderful 
thing it is to live and to be happy ! 

[The hall-door hell rings. 1 

Mrs. Linden (rising). There's a ring. Perhaps I had 
better go. 

22 



^) 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act i 

Nora. No ; do stay. No one will come here. It's 
sure to be some one for Torvald. 

Ellen {in the doorway). If you please, ma'am, there's 
a gentleman to speak to Mr. Helmer. 

Nora. Who is the gentleman ? 

Krogstad (in the doorway). It is I, Mrs. Helmer. 

[Mrs. Linden starts, and turns away to the window.] 

Nora (goes a step towards him, anxiously, speaking low). 
You ? What is it ? What do you want with my husband ? 

Krogstad. Bank business — in a way. I hold a small 
post in the Joint Stock Bank, and your husband is to 
be our new chief, I hear. 

Nora. Then it is ? 

Krogstad. Only tiresome business, Mrs. Helmer ; 
nothing more. 

Nora. Then will you please go to his study ? 
[Krogstad goes. She bows indifferently while she closes the 
door into the hall. Then she goes to the stove and looks 
to the fire.] 

Mrs. Linden. Nora — who was that man ? 

Nora. A Mr. Krogstad — a lawyer. 

Mrs. Linden. Then it was really he ? 

Nora. Do you know him ? 

Mrs. Linden. I used to know him — many years ago. 
He was in a lawyer's office in our town. 

Nora. Yes, so he was. 

Mrs. Linden. How he has changed ! 

Nora. I believe his marriage was unhappy. 

Mrs. Linden. And he is a widower now ? 

Nora. With a lot of children. There ! Now it will 
burn up. 

[She closes the stove, and pushes the rocking-chair a little 
aside.] 

Mrs. Linden. His business is not of the most credit- 
able, they say ? 

Nora. Isn't it ? I daresay not. I don't know. But 
don't let us think of business — it's so tiresome. 

[Dr. Rank comes out of Helmer' s room.] 
23 2a 



Act I'J A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Rank {still in the doorway). No, no ; I'm in your 
way. I shall go and have a chat with your wife. (Shuts 
the door and sees Mrs. Linden.) Oh, I beg your pardon. 
I'm in the way here too. 

Nora. No, not in the least. (Introduces them.) Doctor 
Rank — Mrs. Linden. 

Rank. Oh, indeed ; I've often heard Mrs. Linden's 
name. I think I passed you on the stairs as I came up. 

Mrs. Linden. Yes ; I go so very slowly. Stairs try 
me so much. 

Rank. Ah — you are not very strong ? 

Mrs. Linden. Only overworked. 

Rank. Nothing more ? Then no doubt you've come 
to town to find rest in a round of dissipation ? 

Mrs. Linden. I have come to look for employment. 

Rank. Is that an approved remedy for overwork ? 

Mrs. Linden. One must Uve, Doctor Rank. 

Rank. Yes, that seems to be the general opinion. 

Nora. Come, Doctor Rank — you want to Hve your- 
self. 

Rank. To be sure I do. However wretched I may 
be, I want to drag on as long as possible. All my 
patients, too, have the same mania. And it's the same 
with people whose complaint is moral. At this very 
moment Helmer is talking to just such a moral in- 
curable 

Mrs. Linden (softly). Ah ! 

Nora. Whom do you mean ? 

Rank. Oh, a fellow named Krogstad, a man you 
know nothing about — corrupt to the very core of his 
character. But even he began by announcing, as a 
matter of vast importance, that he must live. 

Nora. Indeed ? And what did he want with Tor- 
vald? 

Rank. I haven't an idea ; I only gathered that it 
was some bank business. 

Nora. I didn't know that Krog — that this Mr. Krog- 
stad had anything to do with the Bank ? 

24 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act i 

Rank. Yes. He has got some sort of place there. 
(To Mrs. Linden.) I don't know whether, in your part 
of the country, you have people who go grubbing and 
sniffing around in search of moral rottenness — and then, 
when they have found a " case," don't rest till they 
have got their man into some good position, where they 
can keep a watch upon him. Men with a clean bill of 
health they leave out in the cold. 

Mrs. Linden. Well, I suppose the — delicate char- 
acters require most care. 

Rank (shrugs his shoulders). There we have it ! It's 
that notion that makes society a hospital. 
[Nora, deep in her own thoughts, breaks into half-stifled 
laughter, and claps her hands.] 

Rank. Why do you laugh at that ? Have you any 
idea what " society " is ? 

Nora. What do I care for your tiresome society ? I 
was laughing at something else — something excessively 
amusing. Tell me. Doctor Rank, are all the employees 
at the Bank dependent on Torvald now ? 
i Rank. Is that what strikes you as excessively amus- 
ing ? 

Nora (smiles and hums). Never mind, never mind ! 
{Walks about the room.) Yes, it is funny to think that 
we — that Torvald has such power over so many people. 
(Takes the bag from her pocket.) Doctor Rank, will you 
have a macaroon ? 

Rank. What ! — macaroons ! I thought they were 
contraband here ? 

Nora. Yes ; but Christina brought me these. 

Mrs. Linden. What ! I 

Nora. Oh, well ! Don't be frightened. You couldn't 
possibly know that Torvald had forbidden them. The 
fact is, he's afraid of me spoiling my teeth. But, oh 
bother, just for once ! — That's for you. Doctor Rank ! 
(Puts a macaroon into his mouth.) And you too, Chris- 
'tina. And I'll have one while we're about it — only a 
tiny one, or at most two. (Walks about again.) Oh 

25 



Act I] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

dear, I am happy ! There's only one thing in the world 
I really want. 

Rank, Well, what's that ? 

Nora. There's something I should so like to say — in 
Torvald's hearing. 

Rank. Then why don't you say it ? 

Nora. Because I daren't, it's so ugly. 

Mrs. Linden. Ugly ? 

Rank. In that case you'd better not. But to us 

you might What is it you would so like to say in 

Helmer's hearing ? 
'^ Nora. I should so love to say, " Damn it all ! " * 

Rank. Are you out of your mind ? 

Mrs. Linden. Good gracious, Nora ! 

Rank. Say it — there he is ! 

Nora (hides the macaroons). Hush — sh — sh. 
[Helmer comes out of his room, hat in hand, with his over" 
coat on his arm.] 

Nora (going to him). Well, Torvald dear, have you got 
rid of him ? 

Helmer. Yes ; he has just gone. 

Nora. Let me introduce you — this is Christina, who 
has come to town 



Helmer. Christina ? Pardon me, I don't know- 



■ ' Nora. Mrs. Linden, Torvald dear — Christina Linden. 

^ Helmer (to Mrs. Linden). Indeed ! A school friend of 

f/* y my wife's, no doubt ? 
' \y . - ; ^ Mrs. Linden. Yes, we knew each other as girls. 
\ru y'^ 'Nora. And only think! She has taken this long 
,j^ w>^^ journey on purpose to speak to you. 
x/ Cl ^ Helmer. To speak to me ! 

Jf^ Mrs. Linden. Well, not quite 

4^ bI^.**^ iVo/'«. You see, Christina is tremendously clever at 
oM f ' ofhce work, and she's so anxious to work under a first- 
rate man of business in order to learn still more 



* Dod og pine, literally " death and tortvire " ; but by usage a com< 
paratively mild oath. 

26 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act i 

Helmer {to Mrs. Linden). Very sensible indeed. 

Nora. And when she heard you were appointed 
manager — it was telegraphed, you know — she started 

off at once, and Torvald dear, for my sake, you 

must do something for Christina. Now, can't you ? 

Helmer. It's not impossible. I presume Mrs. Linden 
is a widow ? 

Mrs. Linden. Yes. 

Helmer. And you have already had some experience 
of business ? 

Mrs. Linden. A good deal. 

Helmer. Well, then, it's very likely I may be able to 
find a place for you. 

Nora (clapping her hands). There now ! There now ! 

Helmer. You have come at a fortunate moment, Mrs. 
Linden. 

Mrs. Linden. Oh, how can I thank you ? 

Helmer (smiling). There is no occasion. (Puts on his 
overcoat.) But for the present you must excuse me 

Rank. Wait ; I am going with you. 
[Fetches his fur coat from the hall and warms it ai the fire.'] 

Nora. Don't be long, Torvald dear. 

Helmer. Only an hour ; not more. 

Nora. Are you going too, Christina ? 

Mrs. Linden {putting on her walking things). Yes ; I 
must set about looking for lodgings. 

Helmer. Then perhaps we can go together ? 

Nora (helping her). What a pity we haven't a spare 
room for you ; but it's impossible 

Mrs. Linden. I shouldn't think of troubling you. 
Good-bye, dear Nora, and thank you for all your 
kindness. 

Nora. Good-bye for the present. Of coiu-se you'll 
come back this evening. And you, too. Doctor Rank. 
What ! If you're well enough ? Of course you'll be 
well enough. Only wrap up warmly. (They go out, 
talking, into the hall. Outside on the stairs are heard 
children's voices.) There they are 1 There they are ! 

27 



Act I] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

{She runs to the outer door and opens it. The Nurse, Anna, 
enters the hall with the children.) Come in ! Come in ! 
(Stoops down and kisses the children.) Oh, my sweet 
darlings ! Do you see them, Christina ? Aren't they 
lovely ? 

Rank. Don't let us stand here chattering in the 
draught. 

Helmer. Come, Mrs. Linden ; only mothers can stand 
such a temperature. 
[Dr. Rank, Helmer, and Mrs. Linden go down the stairs ; 

Anna enters the room with the children ; Nora also, 

shutting the door.] 
Nora. How fresh and bright you look ! And what red 
cheeks you've got ! Like apples and roses. {The chil- 
dren chatter to her during what follows.) Have you 
had great fim ? That's splendid ! Oh, really ! You've 
been giving Emmy and Bob a ride on your sledge! — 
both at once, only think ! Why, you're quite a man, 
Ivar. Oh, give her to me a httle, Anna. My sweet 
httle dolly ! {Takes the smallest from the Nurse and 
dances with her.) Yes, yes ; mother will dance with 
Bob too. What ! Did you have a game of snowballs ? 
Oh, I wish I'd been there. No; leave them, Anna; ^^ 
I'll take their things off. Oh yes, let me do it; it's ,.>^ 
such fun. Go to the nursery ; you look frozen. You'll 
find some hot coffee on the stove. 
[The Nurse goes into the room on the left. Nora takes off 

the children's things and throws them down anywhere, 

while the children talk all together.'] 
Really ! A big dog ran after you ? But he didn't bite 
you ? No ; dogs don't bite dear httle dolly children. 
Don't peep into those parcels, Ivar. What is it ? 
Wouldn't you Uke to know ? Take care — ^it'U bite I 
What ? Shall we have a game ? What shall we play 
at ? Hide-and-seek ? Yes, let's play hide-and-seek. 
Bob shall hide first. Am I to ? Yes, let me hide first. 
[She and the children play, with laughter and shouting, in 

the room and the adjacent one to the right. At last 
28 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act i 

Nora hides under the table ; the children come rushing 
in, look for her, but cannot find her, hear her half- 
choked laughter, rush to the table, lift up the cover and 
see her. Loud shouts. She creeps out, as though to 
frighten them. Fresh shouts. Meanwhile there has 
been a knock at the door leading into the hall. No one > . < 
has heard it. Now the door is half opened, and Krog- \ ^'Y^j 
stad appears. He waits a little ; the game is renewed.^ 

Krogstad. I beg your pardon, Mrs. Helmer 

Nora {with a suppressed cry, turns round and half jumps 
up). Ah ! What do you want ? 

Krogstad. Excuse me ; the outer door was ajar — 

somebody must have forgotten to shut it 

Nora (standing up). My husband is not at home, Mr. 
Krogstad. 
Krogstad. I know it. 
Nora. Then what do you want here ? 
Krogstad. To say a few words to you. 
Nora. To me ? (To the children, softly.) Go in to 
Anna. What ? No, the strange man won't hurt 
mamma. When he's gone we'll go on playing. (She 
leads the children into the left-hand room, and shuts the 
door behind them. Uneasy, in suspense.) It is to me 
you wish to speak ? 
Krogstad. Yes, to you. 

Nora. To-day ? But it's not the first yet 

Krogstad. No, to-day is Christmas Eve. It wiU de- 
pend upon yourself whether you have a merry Christmas. 

Nora. What do you want ? I'm not ready to-day 

Krogstad. Never mind that just now. I have come 
about another matter. You have a minute to spare ? 

Nora. Oh yes, I suppose so ; although 

Krogstad. Good. I was sitting in the restaurant 

opposite, and I saw your husband go down the street 

Nora. Well? 

Krogstad. with a lady. 

Nora. What then ? 

Krogstad. May I ask if the lady was a Mrs. Linden ? 
29 



Act I] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Nora. Yes. 

Krogstad. Who has just come to town ? 

Nora. Yes. To-day. 

Krogstad. I believe she is an intimate friend of yours? 

Nora. Certainly. But I don't understand 

Krogstad. I used to know her too. 

Nora. I know you did. 

Krogstad. Ah ! You know all about it. I thought 
as much. Now, frankly, is Mrs. Linden to have a place 
in the Bank ? 

Nora. How dare you catechize me in this way, Mr. 
Krogstad — you, a subordinate of my husband's ? But 
since you ask, you shall know. Yes, Mrs. Linden is to 
be employed. And it is I who recommended her, Mr. 
Krogstad. Now you know. 

Krogstad. Then my guess was right. 

Nora (walking up and down). You see one has a wee 
bit of influence, after all. It doesn't follow because 
one's only a woman When people are in a sub- 
ordinate position, Mr. Krogstad, they ought really to 
be careful how they offend anybody who — h'm 

Krogstad. who has influence ? 

Nora. Exactly. 

Krogstad (taking another tone). Mrs. Helmer, will you 
have the kindness to employ yoiu: influence on my 
behalf ? 

Nora. What ? How do you mean ? 

Krogstad. Will you be so good as to see that I retain 
my subordinate position in the Bank ? 

Nora. What do you mean ? Who wants to take it 
from you ? 

Krogstad. Oh, you needn't pretend ignorance. I can 
very well understand that it cannot be pleasant for your 
friend to meet me ; and I can also understand now for 
whose sake I am to be hounded out. 

Nora. But I assure you 

Krogstad. Come, come now, once for all : there is time 
yet, and I advise you to use your influence to prevent it. 

30 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act i 

Nora. But, Mr. Krogstad, I have no influence — 
absolutely none. 

Krogstad. None ? I thought you said a moment 
ago 

Nora. Of course not in that sense. I ! How can 
you imagine that I should have any influence over my 
husband ? 

Krogstad. Oh, I know your husband from our college ] 
days. I don't think he is any more inflexible than other | 
husbands. 

Nora. If you talk disrespectfully of my husband, I 
must request you to leave the house. 

Krogstad. You are bold, madam. 

Nora. I am afraid of you no longer. When New 
Year's Day is over, I shall soon be out of the whole 
business. 

Krogstad {controlling himself). Listen to me, Mrs. 
Helmer. If need be, I shall fight as though for my Ufe c -v*---^ 
to keep my little place in the Bank. 

Nora. Yes, so it seems. 

Krogstad. It's not only for the salary ; that is what 

I care least about. It's something else Well, I had 

better make a clean breast ot it. Of course you know, like 
every one else, that some years ago I — got into trouble. 

Nora. I think I've heard something of the sort. 

Krogstad. The matter never came into court ; but 
from that moment all paths were barred to me. Then 
I took up the business you know about. I had to turn 
my hand to something ; and I don't think I've been 
one of the worst. But now I must get clear of it all. 
My sons are growing up ; for their sake I must try to 
recover my character as well as I can. This place in the 
Bank was the first step ; and now your husband wants | iJ}^ «^ 
to kick me off the ladder, back into the mire. T,j->.^^' 

Nora. But I assure you, Mr. Krogstad, I haven't the ju^ fo 
least power to help you. ^0*^1 

Krogstad. That is because you have not the will ; ^unJ*'* 
but I can compel you. i«. A» <£'* 

31 ^tCL^A* ^* 



Act I] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Nora. You won't tell my husband that I owe you 

money ? 

Krogsfad. H'm ; suppose I were to ? 

Nora. It would be shameful of you. {With tears in 
her voice.) The secret that is my joy and my pride — 
that he should learn it in such an ugly, coarse way — and 
from you. It would involve me in all sorts of un- 
pleasantness 

Krogstad. Only unpleasantness ? 

Nora (hotly). But just do it. It's you that will come 
off worst, for then my husband will see what a bad man 
you are, and then you certainly won't keep your place. 

Krogstad. I asked whether it was only domestic un- 
pleasantness you feared ? 

Nora. If my husband gets to know about it, he will 
of course pay you off at once, and then we shaU have 
nothing more to do with you. 

Krogstad (coming a pace nearer). Listen, Mrs. Helmer ; 
either your memory is defective, or you don't know 
much about business. I must make the position a 
little clearer to you. 

Nora. How so ? 

Krogstad. When your husband was ill, you came to me 
to borrow twelve hundred dollars. 

Nora. I knew of nobody else. 

Krogstad. I promised to find you the money 

Nora. And you did find it. 

Krogstad. I promised to find you the money, on cer- 
tain conditions. You were so much taken up at the 
time about your husband's illness, and so eager to have 
the wherewithal for your journey, that you probably did 
not give much thought to the details. Allow me to 
remind you of them. I promised to find you the amount 
in exchange for a note of hand, which I drew up. 

Nora. Yes, and I signed it. 

Krogstad. Quite right. But then I added a few lines, 
making your father security for the debt. Your father 
was to sign this. 

32 




A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act i 

Nora. Was to ? He did sign it ! 

Krogstad. I had left the date blank. That is to say, 
your father was himself to date his signature. Do you 
recollect that ? 

Nora. Yes, I believe — — 

Krogstad. Then I gave you the paper to send to your 
father, by post. Is not that so ? 

Nora. Yes. 

Krogstad. And of course you did so at once ; for , 
within five or six days you brought me back the docu- | 
ment with your father's signature ; and I handed you 
the money. 

Nora. Well ? Have I not made my payments 
punctually ? 

Krogstad. Fairly — yes. But to return to the point : 
you were in great trouble at the time, Mrs. Helmer. 

Nora. I was indeed ! 

Krogstad. Your father was very ill, I believe ? 

Nora. He was on his death-bed. 

Krogstad. And died soon after ? 

Nora. Yes. 

Krogstad. Tell me, Mrs. Helmer : do you happen to 
recollect the day of his death ? The day of the month, 
I mean ? 

Nora. Father died on the 29th of September. 

Krogstad. Quite correct. I have made inquiries. 
And here comes in the remarkable point — {produces a 
paper) — ^which I cannot explain. 

Nora. What remarkable point ? I don't know 

Krogstad. The remarkable point, madam, that your 
father signed this paper three days after his death ! 

Nora. What ! I don't understand 

Krogstad. Your father died on the 29th of September. . j 
But look here : he has dated his signature October 2nd ! ' I 
Is not that remarkable, Mrs. Helmer ? {Nora is silent.) 
Can you explain it ? (Nora continues silent.) It is 
noteworthy, too, that the words " October 2nd " and 
the year are not in your father's handwriting, but in one 

33 



Act i] 



A DOLL'S HOUSE 



( 



which I beUeve I know. Well, this may be explained ; 
your father may have forgotten to date his signature, 
and somebody may have added the date at random, 
before the fact of your father's death was known. There 
is nothing wrong in that. Everything depends on the 
signature. Of course it is genuine, Mrs. Helmer ? It 
was really your father himself who wrote his name 
here ? 

Nora (after a short silence, throws her head hack and looks 
defiantly at him). No, it was not. /wro te father's name, 

Krogstad. Ah !— Are you awareV^adam, "thafthat is 
a dangerous admission ? 

Nora. How so ? You will soon get your money. 

Krogstad. May I ask you one more question ? Why 
did you not send the paper to your father ? 

Nora. It was impossible. Father was ill. If I had 
asked him for his signature, I should have had to tell 
him why I wanted the money ; but he was so ill I really 
could not tell him that my husband's life was in danger. 
It was impossible. 

Krogstad. Then it would have been better to have 
given up your tour. 

Nora. No, I couldn't do that ; my husband's life 
depended on that journey. I couldn't give it up. 

Krogstad. And did it never occur to you that you 
were playing me false ? 

Nora. That was nothing to me. I didn't care in the 
least about you. I couldn't endure you for all the cruel 
difficulties you made, although you knew how ill my 
husband was. 

Krogstad. Mrs. Helmer, you evidently do not realize 
what you have been guilty of. But I can assure you it 
was nothing more and nothing worse that made me an 
outcast from society. 

Nora. You ! You want me to believe that you did a 
I brave thing to save your wife's life ? 
' Krogstad. The law takes no account of motives. 

Nora. Then it must be a very bad law. 
34 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act i 

Krogstad. Bad or not, if I produce this document in 
court, you will be condemned according to law. 

Nora. I don't believe that. Do you mean to tell me 
that a daughter has no right to spare her dying father 
trouble and anxiety ? — that a wife has no right to save/ ^-^.^^ 
her husband's life ? I don't know much about the law, 
but I'm sure you'll find, somewhere or another, that 
that is allowed. And you don't know that — you, a 
lawyer ! You must be a bad one, Mr. Krogstad. 

Krogstad. Possibly. But business — such business as 
ours — I do understand. You believe that ? Very well ; 
now do as you please. But this I may tell you, that if 
I am flung into the gutter a second time, you shall ke^p 
me company. [Bows and goes out through hall.] 

" Nora (stands a while thinking, then tosses her head). Oh, 
nonsense! He wants to frighten me. I'm not so foolish 
as that. ^ [Begins folding the children's clothes. Pauses.) 

But ^? No, it's impossible ! Why, I did it for /^a^^' 

love ! 

Children (at the door, left). Mamma, the strange man 
has gone now. 

Nora. Yes, yes, I know. But don't tell any one about 
the strange man. Do you hear ? Not even papa ! 

Children. No, mamma ; and now wiU you play with 
us again ? 

Nora. No, no ; not now. 

Children. Oh, do, mamma ; you know you promised. 

Nora. Yes, but I can't just now. Run to the nursery ; 
I have so much to do. Run along, run along, and be 
good, my darlings ! (She pushes them gently into the inner 
room, and closes the door behind them. Sits on the sofa, 
embroiders a few stitches, but soon pauses.) No ! (Throws 
down the work, rises, goes to the hall door and calls out) 
Ellen, bring in the Christmas-tree ! (Goes to table, left, 
and opens the drawer ; again pauses.) No, it's quite 
impossible ! 

Ellen (with. Christmas-tree). Where shall I stand it, 
ma'am ? 

35 



H /,>>- 



Act I] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Nora. There, in the middle of the room. 

Ellen. Shall I bring in anything else ? 

Nora. No, thank you, I have all I want. 

[Ellen, having put down the tree, goes out.] 
\\A'^' iVora (busy dressing the tree). There must be a candle 
i>^j'_ here — and flowers there. — That horrible man ! Non- 
sense, nonsense ! there's nothing to be afraid of. The 
Christmas-tree shall be beautiful. I'll do everything to 

please you, Torvald ; I'll sing and dance, and 

[Enter Helmer by the hall door, with a bundle of docu- 
ments.'] 

Nora. Oh ! You're back already ? 

Helmer. Yes. Has anybody been here ? 

Nora. Here ? No. 

Helmer. That's odd. I saw Krogstad come out of 
the house. 

Nora. Did you ? Oh yes, by the bye, he was here 
for a minute. 

Helmer. Nora, I can see by your manner that he has 
been begging you to put in a good word for him. 

Nora. Yes. 

Helmer. And you were to do it as if of your own 
accord ? You were to say nothing to me of his having 
been here. Didn't he suggest that too ? 

Nora. Yes, Torvald ; but 

Helmer. Nora, Nora ! And you could condescend to 
that ! To speak to such a man, to make him a promise ! 
And then to tell me an untruth about it ! 

Nora. An untruth ! 

Helmer. Didn't you say that nobody had been here ? 
(Threatens with his finger.) My little bird must never do 
that again ! A song-bird must sing clear and true ; no 
false notes. [Puts his arm round her.) That's so, isn't 
it ? Yes, I was sure of it. {Lets her go.) And now 
we'll say no more about it. {Sits down before the fire.) 
Oh, how cosy and quiet it is here ! 

[Glances into his documents.] 

Nora {busy with the tree, after a short silence). Torvald 1 
36 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act i 

Helmer. Yes. 

Nora. I'm looking forward so much to the Stenborgs' 
fancy ball the day after to-morrow. 

Helmer. And I'm on tenterhooks to see what surprise 
you have in store for me. 

Nora. Oh, it's too tiresome ! 

Helmer. What is ? 

Nora. I can't think of anything good. Everything 
seems so foolish and meaningless. 

Helmer. Has little Nora made that discovery ? 

Nora {behind his chair, with her arms on the hack). Are 
you very busy, Torvald ? 

Helmer. WeU 

Nora. What papers are those ? 

Helmer. Bank business. 

Nora. Already ! 

Helmer. I have got the retiring manager to let 
me make some necessary changes in the staff and the 
organization. I can do this during Christmas week. 
I want to have everything straight by the New Year. 

Nora. Then that's why that poor Krogstad 

Helmer. H'm. 

Nora {still leaning over the chair-hack and slowly stroking 
his hair). If you hadn't been so very busy, I should 
have asked you a great, great favour, Torvald. 

Helmer. What can it be ? Out with it. 

Nora. Nobody has such perfect taste as you ; and I 
should so love to look well at the fancy ball. Torvald 
dear, couldn't you take me in hand, and settle what I'm 
to be, and arrange my costume for me ? 

Helmer. Aha ! So my wilful little woman is at a loss, 
and making signals of distress. 

Nora. Yes, please, Torvald. I can't get on without 
your help. 

Helmer. Well, well, I'll think it over, and we'll soon 
hit upon something. 

Nora. Oh, how good that is of you ! {Goes to the tree 
again; pause.) How well the red flowers show. — Tell 

37 



Act I] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

me, was it anything so very dreadful this Krogstad got 
into trouble about ? 

Helmer. Forgery, that's all. Don't you know what 
that means ? 

Nora. Mayn't he have been driven to it by need ? 

Helmer. Yes ; or, like so many others, he may have 
done it in pure heedlessness. I am not so hard-hearted 
as to condemn a man absolutely for a single fault. 

Nora. No, surely not, Torvald ! 

Helmer. Man y a man ca n retrieve his character, if he 
owns his crime and takesLthe punishment. 

Nora. Punishment ? 

Helmer. But Krogstad didn't do that. He evaded 
the law by means of tricks and subterfuges ; and that 
is what has morally ruined him. 

Nora. Do you think that ? 

Helmer. Just think how a man with a thing of that 
sort on his conscience must be always lying and canting 
and shamming. Think of the mask he must wear even 
towards those who stand nearest him — towards his own 
wife and children. The effect on the children — that's 
the most terrible part of it, Nora. 

Nora. Why ? 

Helmer. Because in such an atmosphere of lies home 
life is poisoned and contaminated in every fibre. Every 
breath the children draw contains some germ of evil. 

Nora {closer behind him). Are you sure of that ? 

Helmer. As a lawyer, my dear, I have seen it often 
enough. Nearly all cases of early corruption may be 
traced to lying mothers. 

Nora. Why — mothers ? 

Helmer. It generally comes from the mother's side ; 
but of course the father's influence may act in the same 
way. Every lawyer knows it too well. And here has 
this Krogstad been poisoning his own children for years 
past by a life of lies and hypocrisy — that is why I call 
him morally ruined. [Holds out both hands to her.) So 
my sweet little Nora must promise not to plead his 

38 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act i 

cause. Shake hands upon it. Come, come, what's this ? 
Give me your hand. That's right. Then it's a bargain. 
I assure you it would have been impossible for me to 
work with him. It gives me a positive sense of physical 
discomfort to come in contact with such people. 
[Nora draws her hand away, and moves to the other side of 
the Christmas-tree?;^ 

Nora. How warm it is here. And I have so much 
to do. 

Helmer (rises and gathers up his papers). Yes, and I 
must try to get some of these papers looked through 
before dinner. And I shall think over your costume 
too. Perhaps I may even find something to hang in 
gilt paper on the Christmas-tree. [Lays his hand on her 
head.) My precious little song-bird ! 

[He goes into his room and shuts the door.] 

Nora (softly, after a pause). It can't be. It's impos- 
sible. It must be impossible ! 

Anna (at the door, left). The little ones are begging so 
prettily to come to mamma. 

Nora. No, no, no ; don't let them come to me ! Keep 
them with you, Anna. 

Anna. Very well, ma'am. [Shuts the door.] 

Nora {pale with terror). Corrupt my children ! — 
Poison my home ! (Short pause. She throws hack her 
'head.) It's not true ! It can never, never be true ! 



39 



ACT II 

The same room. In the corner, beside the piano, stands 
the Christmas-tree, stripped, and with the candles burnt out. 
Nora's outdoor things lie on the sofa. 

Nora, alone, is walking about restlessly. At last she 
stops by the sofa, and takes up her cloak. 

Nora {dropping the cloak). There's somebody coming! 
{Goes to the hall door and listens.) Nobody ; of course 
nobody will come to-day, Christmas Day ; nor to- 
morrow either. But perhaps {Opens the door and 

looks out.) — No, nothing in the letter-box ; quite empty. 
{Comes forward.) Stuff and nonsense ! Of course he 
won't really do anything. Such a thing couldn't 
happen. It's impossible ! Why, I have three httle 
children. 

[Anna enters from the left, with a large cardboard box.] 

Anna. I've found the box with the fancy dress at last. 

Nora. Thanks ; put it down on the table. 

Anna {does so). But I'm afraid it's very much out of 
order. 

Nora. Oh, I wish I could tear it into a hundred thou- 
sand pieces ! 

Anna. Oh no. It can easily be put to rights — just a 
little patience. 

Nora. I shall go and get Mrs. Linden to help me. 

Anna. Going out again ? In such weather as this ! 
You'll catch cold, ma'am, and be ill. 

Nora. Worse things might happen. — WTiat are the 
children doing ? 

Anna. They're playing with their Christmas presents, 

poor little dears ; but 

40 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act ii 

Nora. Do they often ask for me ? 

Anna. You see, they've been so used to having their 
mamma with them. 

Nora. Yes ; but, Anna, I can't have them so much 
with me in future. 

Anna. Well, little children get used to anything. 

Nora. Do you think they do ? Do you believe they 
would forget their mother if she went quite away ? 

Anna. Gracious me ! Quite away ? 

Nora. Tell me, Anna — I've so often wondered about 
it — how could you bring yourself to give your child up 
to strangers ? 

Anna. I had to when I came to nurse my little 
Miss Nora. 

Nora. But how could you make up your mind to it ? 

Anna. When I had the chance of such a good place ? 
A poor girl who's been in trouble must take what comes. 
That wicked man did nothing for me. 

Nora. But 3^our daughter must have forgotten you. 

Anna. Oh no, ma'am, that she hasn't. She wrote 
to me both when she was confirmed and when she was 
married. 

Nora [embracing her). Dear old Anna — you were a 
good mother to me when 1 was httle. 

Anna. My poor little Nora had no mother but me. 

Nora. And if my Uttle ones had nobody else, I'm sure 

you would Nonsense, nonsense ! {Opens the box.) 

Go in to the children. Now I must You'll see 

how lovely I shall be to-morrow. 

Anna. I'm sure there will be no one at the ball so 
lovely as my Miss Nora. 

[She goes into the room on the left.^ 

Nora {takes the costume out of the box, but soon throws it 
down again). Oh, if I dared go out. If only nobody 
would come. If only nothing would happen here in 
the meantime. Rubbish ; nobody is coming. Only not 
to think. What a dehcious muff ! Beautiful gloves, 
beautiful gloves ! To forget — to forget ! One, two, 

41 



Act II] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

three, four, five, six {With a scream.) Ah, there 

they come. 

[Goes towards the door, then stands irresolute. Mrs. 
Linden enters from the hall, where she has taken off 
her things.^ 

Nora. Oh, it's you, Christina. There's nobody else 
there ? I'm so glad you have come. 

Mrs. Linden. I hear you called at my lodgings. 

Nora. Yes, I was just passing. There's something 
you must help me with. Let us sit here on the sofa — 
so. To-morrow evening there's to be a fancy ball at 
Consul Stenborg's overhead, and Torvald wants me 
to appear as a Neapolitan fisher-girl, and dance the 
tarantella ; I learned it at Capri. 

Mrs. Linden. I see — quite a performance. 

Nora. Yes, Torvald wishes it. Look, this is the 
costume ; Torvald had it made for me in Italy. But 
now it's all so torn, I don't know 

Mrs. Linden. Oh, we shall soon set that to rights. It's 
only the trimming that has come loose here and there. 
Have you a needle and thread ? Ah, here's the very 
thing. 

Nora. Oh, how kind of you. 

Mrs. Linden [sewing). So you'rQ to be in costume 
to-morrow, Nora ? I'll tell you what — I shall come in 
for a moment to see you in all your glory. But I've 
quite forgotten to thank you for the pleasant evening 
yesterday. 

Nora (rises and walks across the room). Oh, yesterday; 
it didn't seem so pleasant as usual. — You should have 
come to town a little sooner, Christina. — ^Torvald has 
certainly the art of making home bright and beautiful. 

Mrs. Linden. You too, I should think, or you wouldn't 
be your father's daughter. But tell me — is Doctor 
Rank always so depressed as he was last evening ? 

Nora. No, yesterday it was particularly noticeable. 
You see, he suffers from a dreadful illness. He has spinal 
consumption, poor fellow. They say his father was a 

42 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act ii 

Jiorrible man, so the son has been sickly from his child- 
hood, you understand. 

Mrs. Linden [lets her sewing fall into her lap). Why, 
my darling Nora, how do you come to know such 
things ? 

Nora {moving about the room). Oh, when one has three 
children, one sometimes has visits from women who are 
half — half doctors — and they talk of one thing and 
another. 

Mrs. Linden (goes on sewing ; a short pause). Does 
Doctor Rank come here every day ? 

Nora. Every day of his Hfe. He has been Torvald's 
most intimate friend from boyhood, and he's a good 
friend of mine too. Doctor Rank is quite one of the 
family. 

Mrs. Linden. But tell me — is he quite sincere ? I 
mean, isn't he rather given to flattering people ? 

Nora. No, quite the contrary. Why should you 
think so ? 

Mrs. Linden. When you introduced us yesterday he 
said he had often heard my name ; but I noticed after- i 
wards that your husband had no notion who I was.) 

How could Doctor Rank ? 

Nora. He was quite right, Christina. You see, Tor- 1 
vald loves me so indescribably, he wants to have me all » 
to himself, as he says. When we were first married he I ^^^ 
was almost jealous if I even mentioned any of my old / ' ' 
friends at home ; so naturally I gave up doing it. But 
I often talk of the old times to Doctor Rank, for he likes 
to hear about them. 

Mrs. Linden. Listen to me, Nora ! You are still a 
child in many ways. I am older than you, and have 
had more experience. I'll tell you something. You 
ought to get clear of all this with Doctor Rank. 
Nora. Get clear of what ? 

Mrs. Linden. The whole affair, I should say. You j 
were talking yesterday of a rich admirer who was to find | 

you money 

43 



Act II] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Nora. Yes, one who never existed, worse luck I What 
then? 

Mrs. Linden. Has Doctor Rank money ? 

Nora. Yes, he has. 

Mrs. Linden. And nobody to provide for ? 

Nora. Nobody. But ? 

Mrs. Linden. And he comes here every day ? 
Nora. Yes, I told you so. 

Mrs. Linden. I should have thought he would have 
had better taste. 

Nora. I don't understand you a bit. 
Mrs. Linden. Don't pretend, Nora. Do you sup- 
i pose I can't guess who lent you the twelve hundred 
\ dollars ? 

Nora. Are you out of your senses ? How can you 
think such a thing ? A friend who comes here every 
day ! Why, the position would be unbearable ! 
Mrs. Linden. Then it really is not he ? 
Nora. No, I assure you. It never for a moment 

occurred to me Besides, at that time he had 

nothing to lend ; he came into his property afterwards. 
Mrs. Linden. Well, I believe that was lucky for you, 
p v^ Nora dear. 
^'^'y^/^ Nora. No, really, it would never have struck me to 

•i^ -1-^^ ask Doctor Rank And yet, I'm certain that if I 

■' /v-^ did 

r*^ Mrs. Linden. But of course you never would. 

Nora. Of course not. It's inconceivable that it 
should ever be necessary. But I'm quite sure that if I 

spoke to Doctor Rank 

Mrs. Linden. Behind your husband's back ? 
Nora. I must get clear of the other thing ; that's 
behind his back too. I m u s t get clear of that. 

Mrs. Linden. Yes, yes, I told you so yesterday ; 

but 

Nora {walking up and down). A man can manage these 
things much better than a woman. 
Mrs. Linden. One's own husband, yes. 
44 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act ii 

Nora. Nonsense. (Stands still.) When everything is 
paid, one gets back the paper. 

Mrs. Linden. Of course. 

Nora. And can tear it into a hundred thousand pieces, 
and bum it up, the nasty, filthy thing ! 

Mrs. Linden (looks at her fixedly, lays down her 
work, and rises slowly). Nora, you are hiding something 
from me. 

Nora, Can you see it in my face ? 

Mrs. Linden. Something has happened since yesterday 
morning. Nora, what is it ? 

Nora (going towards her). Christina ! (Listens.) 

Hush ! There's Torvald coming home. Do you mind 
going into the nursery for the present ? Torvald 
can't bear to see dressmaking going on. Get Anna to 
help you. 

Mrs. Linden (gathers some of the things together). Very 
well ; but I shan't go away until you have told me all 
about it. 

[She goes out to the left, as Helmer enters from the hall.] 

Nora (runs to meet him). Oh, how I've been longing 
for you to come, Torvald dear ! 

Helmer. Was that the dressmaker ? 

Nora. No, Christina. She's helping me with my 
costume. You'll see how nice I shall look. 

Helmer. Yes, wasn't that a happy thought of mine ? 

Nora. Splendid ! But isn't it good of me too, to have 
given in to you about the tarantella ? 

Helmer (takes her under the chin). Good of you ! To 
give in to your own husband? Well, well, you Httle 
madcap, I know you don't mean it. But I won't dis- 
turb you. I daresay you want to be " trying on." 

Nora. And you are going to work, I suppose ? 

Helmer. Yes. (Shows her a bundle of papers.) Look 

here. I've just come from the Bank 

[Goes towards his room.] 

Nora. Torvald. 

Helmer (stopping). Yes ? 

45 



Act II] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Nora. If your little squirrel were to beg you for some- 
thing so prettily 

Helmer. Well? 

Nora. Would you do it ? 

Helmer. I must know first what it is. 

Nora. The squirrel would skip about and play all sorts 
of tricks if you would only be nice and kind. 

Helmer. Come, then, out with it. 

Nora. Your lark would twitter from morning till 
night 

Helmer. Oh, that she does in any case. 

Nora. I'll be an elf and dance in the moonlight for 
you, Torvald. 

Helmer. Nora — you can't mean what you were hinting 
at this morning ? 

Nora {coming nearer). Yes, Torvald, I beg and implore 
you ! 

Helmer. Have you really the courage to begin that 
again ? 

Nora. Yes, yes; for my sake, you must let Krog- 
stad keep his place in the Bank. 

Helmer. My dear Nora, it's his place I intend for 
Mrs. Linden. 

Nora. Yes, that's so good of you. But instead of 
Krogstad, you could dismiss some other clerk. 

Helmer. Why, this is incredible obstinacy ! Because 
you have thoughtlessly promised to put in a word for 
him, I am to ! 

Nora. It's not that, Torvald. It's for your own sake. 
This man writes for the most scurrilous newspapers ; 
you said so yourself. He can do you no end of harm. 
I'm so terribly afraid of him 

Helmer. Ah, I understand ; it's old recollections that 
are frightening you. 

Nora. What do you mean ? 

Helmer. Of course you're thinking of your father. 

Nora. Yes — yes, of course. Only think of the shame- 
ful slanders wicked people used to write about father. 

46 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act ii 

I believe they would have got him dismissed if you 
hadn't been sent to look into the thing, and been kind 
to him, and helped him. 

Helmer. My little Nora, between your father and me 
there is all the difference in the world. Your father P"""^^ 
was not altogether unimpeachable. I am ; and I hope 
to remain so. 

Nora. Oh, no one knows what wicked men may hit 
upon. We could live so quietly and happily now, in 
our cosy, peaceful home, you and I and the children, 
Torvald ! That's why I beg and implore you 

Helmer. And it is just by pleading his cause that you 
make it impossible for me to keep him. It's already 
known at the Bank that I intend to dismiss Krogstad. 
If it were now reported that the new manager let himself 
be turned round his wife's little finger 

Nora. What then ? 

Helmer. Oh, nothing, so long as a wilful woman can 
have her way ! I am to make myself a laughing- 
stock to the whole staff, and set people saying that I am 
open to all sorts of outside influence ? Take my word 
for it, I should soon feel the consequences. And besides 
— there is one thing that makes Krogstad impossible for 
me to work with , .;, 

Nora. What thing ? , '*^ 

Helmer. I could perhaps have overlooked his moral 
failings at a pinch 

Nora. Yes, couldn't you, Torvald ? 

Helmer. And I hear he is good at his work. But the 
fact is, he was a college chum of mine — there was one of 
those rash friendships between us that one so often ., . 
repents of later. I may as well confess it at once — he 
caUs me by my Christian name ; * and he is tactless ^^ 
enough to do it even when others are present. He ^ , 
deUghts in putting on airs of familiarity — Torvald here, 
Torvald there ! I assure you it's most painful to me. 

♦ In the original, " We say ' thou ' to each other." 

47 3 



Act ii] 



A DOLL'S HOUSE 



k{^ 



ro 



{' 



He would make my position at the Bank perfectly 
unendurable. 

'Nora. Torvald, surely you're not serious ? 

Helmer. No ? Why not ? 

Nora. That's such a petty r eason. 

Helmer. What ! Pettyl Do you consider me petty ? 

Nora. No, on the contrary, Torvald dear ; and that's 

just why 

. Helmer. Never mind ; you call my motives petty ; 
\ then I must be petty too. Petty ! Very well ! — Now 
i we'll put an end to this, once for all. (Goes to the door 
' into the hall and calls.) Ellen ! 

Nora. What do you want ? 

Helmer {searching among his papers). To settle the 
thing. (Ellen enters.) Here, take this letter ; give it 
to a messenger. See that he takes it at once. The 
address is on it. Here's the money. 

Ellen. Very well, sir. [Goes with the letter. 1 

Helmer (putting his papers together). There, Madam 
Obstinacy. 

Nora (breathless). Torvald — what was in the letter ? 

Helmer. Krogstad's dismissal. 

Nora. Call it back again, Torvald ! There's still time. 
Oh, Torvald, call it back again ! For my sake, for your 
own, for the children's sake ! Do you hear, Torvald ? 
Do it ! You don't know what that letter may bring 
upon us all. 

Helmer. Too late. 

Nora. Yes, too late. 

Helmer. My dear Nora, I forgive your anxiety, though 
it's anything but flattering to me. Why should you 
suppose that / would be afraid of a wretched scribbler's 
spite ? But I forgive you all the same, for it's a proof of 
your great love for me. (Takes her in his arms.) That's 
as it should be, my own dear Nora. Let what will 
happen — when it comes to the pinch, I shall have 
strength and Courage enough. You shall see : my 
shoulders are broad enough to bear the whole burden. 

48 



/;. 



'D. 






A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act ii 

Nora (terror-struck). What do you mean by that ? 

Helnker. The whole burden, I say 

Nora (with decision). That you shall never, never do! 

Helmer. Very well ; then we'll share it, Nora, as man 
and wife. That is how it should be. (Petting her.) Are 
you satisfied now ? Come, come, come, don't look like 
a scared dove. It's all nothing — foolish fancies. — Now 
you ought to play the tarantella through and practise 
with the tambourine. I shall sit in my inner room and 
shut both doors, so that I shall hear nothing. You can 
make as much noise as you please. (Turns round in 
doorway.) And when Rank comes, just tell him where 
I'm to be found. 

[He nods to her, and goes with his papers into his room, 
closing the door.] 

Nora (bewildered with terror, stands as though rooted to 
the ground, and whispers). He would do it. Yes, he , 
woiild do it. He would do it, in spite of all the world. — j 
fw- ' No, never that, never, never ! Anything rather than j 
^ that ! Oh, for some way of escape ! What shall I 
do ! (Hall hell rings.) Doctor Rank ! Any- 
thing, anything, rather than ! 

[Nora draws her hands over her face, pulls herself together, 
goes to the door and opens it. Rank stands outside 
hanging up his fur coat. During what follows it 
begins to grow dark.] 

Nora. Good afternoon, Doctor Rank. I knew you by 
your ring. But you mustn't go to Torvald now. I 
believe he's busy. 

Rank. And you ? [Enters and closes the door.] 

Nora. Oh, you know very well, I have always time 
for you. 

Rank. Thank you. I shall avail myself of your kind- 
ness as long as I can. 

Nora. What do you mean ? As long as you can ? 

Rank. Yes. Does that frighten you ? 

Nora. I think it's an odd expression. Do you expect 
anything to happen ? 

49 



Act II] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

I Rank. Something I have long been prepared for ; but 
* I didn't think it would come so soon. 

Nora (catching at his arm). What have you discovered ? 
Doctor Rank, you must tell me ! 

Rank (sitting down by the stove). I am running down 
hill. There's no help for it. 

Nora (draws a long breath of relief). It's you ? 

Rank. Who else should it be ? — Why He to one's self ? 
I am the most wretched of all my patients, Mrs. Helmer. 
In these last days I have been auditing my life-account — 
bankrupt ! Perhaps before a month is over I shall lie 
rotting in the churchyard. 

Nora. Oh ! What an ugly way to talk. 

Rank. The thing itself is so confoundedly ugly, you 

see. But the worst of it is, so many other ugly things 

have to be gone through first. There is only one last 

investigation to be made, and when that is over I shall 

know pretty certainly when the break-up will begin. 

j There's one thing I want to say to you : Helmer's 

! delicate nature shrinks so from all that is horrible : I 

' will not have him in my sick-room 

Nora. But, Doctor Rank 

Rank. I won't have him, I say — not on any account ! 

I shall lock my door against him. — As soon as I am quite 

certain of the worst, I shall send you my visiting-card 

with a black cross on it ; and then you wiU know that 

the final horror has begun. 

Nora. Why, you're perfectly unreasonable to-day; 

, and I did so want you to be in a really good humour. 

Jf ^ Rank. With death staring me in the face ? — And to 

"^ ** ■ suffer thus for another's sin ! Where's the justice of it ? 

*' And in one way or another you can trace in every family 

some such inexorable retribution 

Nora (stopping her ears). Nonsense, nonsense ! Now 
cheer up ! 

Rank. WeU, after all, the whole thing's only worth 
laughing at. My poor innocent spine must do penance 
for my father's wild oats. 

50 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act ii 

Nora {at table, left). I suppose he was too fond of 
asparagus and Strasbourg pate, wasn't he ? 

Rank. Yes ; and truffles. 

Nora. Yes, truffles, to be sure. And oysters, I 
beUeve ? 

Rank. Yes, oysters ; oysters, of course. 

Nora. And then all the port and champagne ! It's 
sad that all these good things should attack the spine. 

Rank. Especially when the luckless spine attacked 
never had any good of them. 

Nora. Ah yes, that's the worst of it. 

Rank (looks at her searchingly) . H'm 

Nora (a moment later). Why did you smile ? 

Rank. No ; it was you that laughed. 

Nora. No ; it was you that smiled, Doctor Rank. 

Rank (standing up). I see you're deeper than I thought. 

Nora. I'm in such a crazy mood to-day. 

Rank. So it seems. 

Nora (with her hands on his shoulders). Dear, dear 
Doctor Rank, death shall not take you away from 
Torvald and me. 

Rank. Oh, you'll easily get over the loss. The absent 
are soon forgotten. 

Nora (looks at him anxiously). Do you think so ? 

Rank. People make fresh ties, and then 

Nora. Who make fresh ties ? 

Rank. You and Helmer will, when I am gone. You 
yourself are taking time by the forelock, it seems to me. 
What was that Mrs. Linden doing here yesterday ? 

Nora. Oh ! — you're surely not jealous of poor Chris- 
tina ? 

Rank. Yes, I am. She will be my successor in this 
house. When I am out of the way, this woman will 



perhaps- 

Nora. Hush ! Not so loud ! She's in there. 

Rank. To-day as well ? You see ! 

Nora. Only to put my costume in order — dear me, 
how unreasonable you are ! (Sits on sofa. Now do be 

51 



Act II] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

good, Doctor Rank ! To-morrow you shall see how 
beautifully I shall dance ; and then you may fancy that 
I'm doing it all to please you — and of course Torvald 
as well. {Takes various things -out of box.) Doctor 
Rank, sit down here, and I'll show you something. 

Rank {sitting). What is it ? 

Nora. Look here. Look ! 

Rank. Silk stockings. 

Nora. Flesh-coloured. Aren't they lovely? It's so 

dark here now ; but to-morrow No, no, no ; you 

must only look at the feet. Oh, well, I suppose you 
may look at the rest too. 

Rank. H'm 

Nora. What are you looking so critical about ? Do 
you think they won't fit me ? 

Rank. I can't possibly give any competent opinion on 
that point. 

Nora {looking at him a moment). For shame ! {Hits 
him lightly on the ear with the stockings.) Take that. 

[Rolls them up again.] 

Rank. And what other wonders am I to see ? 

Nora. You shan't see any more ; for you don't behave 
nicely. [She hums a little, and searches among the things.] 

Rank {after a short silence). When I sit here gossiping 
with you, I can't imagine — I simply cannot conceive — 
what would have become of me if I had never entered 
this house. 

Nora {smiling). Yes, I think you do feel at home 
with us. 

Rank {more softly — looking straight before him). And 
now to have to leave it all 

Nora. Nonsense. You shan't leave us. 

Rank {in the same tone). And not to be able to leave 
behind the slightest token of gratitude ; scarcely even a 
passing regret — nothing but an empty place, that can 
be filled by the first comer. 

Nora. And if I were to ask you for ? No 

Rank. For what ? 

52 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act ii 

Nora. For a great proof of your friendship. 

Rank. Yes — yes ? 

Nora. I mean — for a very, very great service 

Rank. Would you really, for once, make me so 
happy ? 

Nora. Oh, you don't know what it is. 

Rank. Then tell me. 

Nora. No, I really can't. Doctor Rank. It's far, far 
too much — not only a service, but help and advice 
besides 

Rank. So much the better. I can't think what you 
can mean. But go on. Don't you trust me ? 

Nora. As I trust no one else. I know you are my 
best and truest friend. So I will tell you. Well then. 
Doctor Rank, there is something you must help me 
to prevent. You know how deeply, how wonderfully \ /f*^ • 
Torvald loves me ; he wouldn't hesitate a moment to ( ''-^^-^^"^^Jw 
give his very life for my sake. , ^^^^T 

Rank (bending towards her). Nora — do you think he ^ ' ' 
is the only one who ? 

Nora (with a slight start). Who ? 

Rank. Who would gladly give his life for you ? 

Nora (sadly). Oh ! 

Rank. I have sworn that you shall know it before I — 
go. I shall never find a better opportunity. — Yes, Nora, 
now I have told you ; and now you know that you can 
trust me as you can no one else. 

Nora (standing up ; simply and calmly). Let me pass, 
please. 

Rank (makes way for her, but remains sitting). 
Nora 

Nora (in the doorway). Ellen, bring the lamp. (Crosses 
to the stove.) Oh dear. Doctor Rank, that was too bad 
of you. 

Rank (rising). That I have loved you as deeply as — 
any one else ? Was that too bad of me ? 

Nora. No, but that you should have told me so. It 

was so unnecessary 

53 



Act II] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Rank. What do you mean ? Did you know ? 

[Ellen enters with the lamp ; sets it on the table and goes out 
again."] 

Rank. Nora — Mrs. Helmer — I ask you, did you 
know ? 

Nora. Oh, how can I tell what I knew or didn't know ? 

I really can't say How could you be so clumsy, 

Doctor Rank ? It was all so nice ! 

Rank. Well, at any rate, you know now that I am at 
your service, body and soul. And now, go on. 

Nora (looking at him). Go on — now ? 

Rank. I beg you to tell me what you want. 

Nora. I can tell you nothing now. 

Rank. Yes, yes ! You mustn't punish me in that 
way. Let me do for you whatever a man can. 

Nora. You can do nothing for me now. — Besides, I 
really want no help. You shall see it was only my fancy. 
Yes, it must be so. Of course ! (Sits in the rocking- 
chair, looks at him and smiles.) You are a nice person, 
Doctor Rank ! Aren't you ashamed of yourself, now 
that the lamp is on the table ? 

Rank. No ; not exactly. But perhaps I ought to go — 
for ever. 

Nora. No, indeed you mustn't. Of course you must 
come and go as you've always done. You know very 
well that Torvald can't do without you. 

Rank. Yes, but you ? 

Nora. Oh, you know I always like to have you here. 

Rank. That is just what led me astray. You are a 
riddle to me. It has often seemed to me as if you hked 
being with me almost as much"asT)eing"wrffi'lTelmer.' 

Nora. Yes ; don't you see ? There are people one 
loves, and others one likes to talk to. 

Rank. Yes — there's something in that. 

Nora. When I was a girl, of course I loved papa best. 
But it always delighted me to steal into the servants' 
room. In the first place, they never lectured me, and, in 
the second, it was such fun to hear them talk. 

54 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act ii 

Rank. Ah, I see ; then it's their place I have taken ? 

Nora (jumps up and hurries towards him). Oh, my 
dear Doctor Rank, I don't mean that. But you under- /<^ ^^^ 

stand, with Torvald it's the same as with papa ^^*-^-c ^^*ni* 

[Ellen enters from the hall.] -^"^^j^iiT^ 

Ellen. Please, ma'am «> c^^H^. 

[Whispers to Nora, and gives her a card.^ 

Nora (glancing at card) . Ah ! [Puts it in her pocket.] 

Rank. Anything wrong ? 

Nora. No, no, not in the least. It's only — it's my 
new costume 

Rank. Your costume ? Why, it's there. 

Nora. Oh, that one, yes. But this is another that — I 
have ordered it — Torvald mustn't know 

Rank. Aha ! So that's the great secret. 

Nora. Yes, of course. Please go to him ; he's in the 
inner room. Do keep him while I 

Rank. Don't be alarmed ; he shan't escape. 

[Goes into Helmer's room.] 

Nora (to Ellen). Is he waiting in the kitchen ? 

Ellen. Yes, he came up the back stair 

Nora. Didn't you tell him I was engaged ? 

Ellen. Yes, but it was no use. 

Nora. He won't go away ? 

Ellen. No, ma'am, not until he has spoken to you. 

Nora. Then let him come in ; but quietly. And, 
Ellen — say nothing about it ; it's a surprise for my 
husband. 

Ellen. Oh, yes, ma'am, I understand. [She goes out.] 

Nora. It is coming ! The dreadful thing is coming, 
after all. No, no, no, it can never be ; it shall not ! 
[She goes to Helmer's door and slips the holt. Ellen opens 
the hall door for Krogstad, and shuts it after him. He 
wears a travelling-coat, high boots, and a fur cap.] 

Nora (goes towards him). Speak softly; my husband 
is at home. 

Krogstad. AH right. That's nothing to me. 

Nora. What do you want ? 

55 3a 



Act ii] 



A DOLL'S HOUSE 



Krogstad. A little information. 

Nora. Be quick, then. What is it ? 

Krogstad. You know I have got my dismissal ? 

Nora. I couldn't prevent it, Mr. Krogstad. I fought 
for you to the last, but it was of no use. 

Krogstad. Does your husband care for you so little ? 
- He knows what I can bring upon you, and yet he 
dares 

Nora. How could you think I should tell him ? 
^, Krogstad. Well, as a matter of fact, I didn't think it. 
^ It wasn'^Jike^ mv friend Tor yald„H elmer t o show so 
IT>^ much courage 

^ Nora. Mr. Krogstad, be good enough to speak respect- 

fully of my husband. 

Krogstad. Certainly, with all due respect. But since 
you are so anxious to keep the matter secret, I suppose 
you are a little clearer than yesterday as to what you 
have done. 

Nora. Clearer than you could ever make me. 

Krogstad. Yes, such a bad lawyer as I 

Nora. What is it you want ? 

Krogstad. Only to see how you are getting on, Mrs. 
Helmer. I've been thinking about you all day. Even 
a mere money-lender, a gutter-journaUst. a — in short, a 
creature like me — has a little bit of what people call 
feehng. 

Nora. Then show it ; think of my little children. 

Krogstad. Did you and your husband think of mine ? 
But enough of that. I only wanted to tell you that you 
needn't take this matter too seriously. I shall not 
lodge any information, for the present. 

Nora. No, surely not. I knew you wouldn't. 

Krogstad. The whole thing can be settled quite 
amicably. Nobody need know. It can remain among 
us three. 

Nora. My husband must never know. 

Krogstad. How can you prevent it ? Can you pay 
off the balance ? 

66 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act ii 

Nora. No, not at once. 

Krogstad. Or have you any means of raising the 
money in the next few days ? 

Nora. None — that I will make use of. 

Krogstad. And if you had, it would not help you now. \ 
If you offered me ever so much money down, you should I 
not get back your I U. 

Nora. Tell me what you want to do with it. 

Krogstad. I only want to keep it — to have it in my 
possession. No outsider shall hear anything of if r^o, 
if you have any desperate scheme in your head 

Nora. What if I have ? 

Krogstad. If you should think of leaving your husband 
and children 

Nora. What if I do ? 

Krogstad. Or if you should think of — something 
worse 

Nora. How do you know that ? 

Krogstad. Put aU that out of your head. 

Nora. How did you know what I had in my mind ? 

Krogstad. Most of us think of that at first. I thought ) 
of it, too ; but I hadn't the courage 

Nora (tonelessly) . Nor I. 

Krogstad (relieved). No, one hasn't. You haven't the 
courage either, have you ? 

Nora. I haven't, I haven't. 

Krogstad. Besides, it would be very fooHsh. — Just one 
domestic storm, and it's all over. I have a letter in my 
pocket for your husband 

Nora. TeUing him everything ? 

Krogstad. Sparing you as much as possible. 

Nora (quickly). He must never read that letter. Tear 
it up. I will manage to get the money somehow 

Krogstad. Pardon me, Mrs. Helmer, but I believe 
told you 

Nora. Oh, I am not talking about the money I owe 
you. Tell me how much you demand from my husband 
— I wiU get it. 

57 



:) 



Act II] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Krogstad. I demand no money from your husband. 

Nora. What do you demand then ? 

Krogstad. I will tell you. I want to regain my footing 

in the world. I want to rise ; and your husband shall 

T^elp me to do it. For the last eighteen months my 

record has been spotless ; I have been in bitter need all 

the time ; but I was content to fight my way up, step 

by step. Now, I've been thrust down again, and I will 

not be satisfied with merely being reinstated as a matter 

of grace. I want to rise, I tell you. I miist get into 

( the Bank again, in a higher position than before. Your 

husband shall create a place on purpose for me 

Nora. He will never do that ! 

Krogstad. He will do it ; I know him — he won't dare 

! to show fight ! And when he and I are together there, 

j you shall soon see ! Before a year is out I shall be the 

manager's' right hand. It won't be Torvald Helmer, 

but Nils Krogstad, that manages the Joint Stock Bank. 

Nora. That shall never be. • 

jl^^" Krogstad. Perhaps you will ? 

A.***' W'" ^^ora. Now I have the courage for it. 

^r^> \f^ Krogstad. Oh, you don't frighten me ! A sensitive, 

^f^j^^ petted creature like you 

' % , y^'Nora. You shall see, you shall see ! 
\y^ v/^' Krogstad. Under the ice, perhaps ? Down into the 
•"V, T' I coM, black water ? And next spring to come up again, 
/\^/~ ugly, hairless, unrecognizable 



fer 



. Nora. You can't terrify me. 

-X^ Krogstad. Nor you me. People don't do that sort of 

^ thing, Mrs. Helmer. And after all, what would be the 

use of it ? I have your husband in my pocket all the 
same. 

Nora. Afterwards ? When I am no longer ? 

Krogstad. You forget, your reputation remains in my 
hands ! (Nora stands speechless and looks at him.) Well, 
now you are prepared. Do nothing foolisn. As soon as 
Helmer has received my letter, I shall expect to hear 
from him. And remember that it is your husband him- 

58 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act ii 

self who has forced me back again into such paths. 
That I will never forgive him. Good-bye, Mrs. Helmer. 
[Goes out through the hall. Nora hurries to the door, opens 
it a little, and listens.'] 

Nora. He's going. He's not putting the letter into 
the box. No, no, it would be impossible ! (Opens the 
door farther and farther.) What's that ? He's standing 
still ; not going downstairs. Has he changed his mind ? 
Is he ? (A letter falls into the box. Krogstad's foot- 
steps are heard gradually receding down the stair. Nora 
utters a suppressed shriek, and rushes forward towards the 
sofa-table ; pause.) In the letter-box ! (Slips shrink- 
ingly up to the hall door.) There it Hes. — ^Torvald, 
Torvald — now we are lost ! 

[Mrs. Linden enters from the left with the costume.'] 

Mrs. Linden. There, I think it's all right now. Shall 
we just try it on ? 

Nora (hoarsely and softly). Christina, come here. 

Mrs. Linden (throws down the dress on the sofa). What's 
the matter ? You look quite distracted. 

Nora. Come here. Do you see that letter ? There, 
see — through the glass of the letter-box. 

Mrs. Linden. Yes, yes, I see it. 

Nora. That letter is from Krogstad 

Mrs. Linden. Nora — it was Krogstad who lent you 
the money ? 

Nora. Yes ; and now Torvald will know everything. 

Mrs. Linden. Believe me, Nora, it's the best thing for 
both of you. 

Nora. You don't know all yet. I have forged a 
name 

Mrs. Linden. Good heavens ! 

Nora. Now, listen to me, Christina ; you shaU bear 
me witness 

Mrs. Linden. How " witness " ? What am I to ? 



Nora. If I should go out of my mind — it might easily 

happen 

Mrs. Linden. Nora ! 

59 






Act II] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Nora. Or if anything else should happen to me — so 
that I couldn't be here ! 

Mrs. Linden. Nora, Nora, you're quite beside yourself ! 

Nora. In case any one wanted to take it all upon 
hmiself — the wh^e "blame— you understand 

Mrs. Linden. Yes, yes ; but how can you think ? 

Nora. You shall bear witness that it's not true, 
Christina. I'm not out of my mind at all ; I know 
quite well what I'm saying ; and I tell you nobody else 
knew anything about it ; I did the whole thing, I myself. 
Remember that. 

Mrs. Linden. I shall remember. But I don't under- 
stand what you mean 

Nora. Oh, how should you ? It's the miracle comings 
to pass. 

Mrs. Linden. The miracle ? , 

Nora. Yes, the miracle. But it's so terrible, Chris- \ 
tina ; it mustn't happen for all the world. 

Mrs. Linden. I shall go straight to Krogstad and talk 
to him. 

Nora. Don't ; he'll do you some harm. 

Mrs. Linden. Once he would have done anything 
for me. 

Nora. He ? 

MrS: Linden. Where does he live ? 

Nora. Oh, how can I tell — ^? Yes {Feels in 

her pocket.) Here's his card. But the letter, the 
letter ! 

Helmer (knocking outside). Nora ! 

Nora (shrieks in terror). Oh, what is it ? What do 
you want ? 

Helmer. Well, well, don't be frightened. We're not 
coming in ; you've bolted the door. Are you trying on 
your dress ? 

Nora. Yes, yes, I'm trying it on. It suits me so well, 
Torvald. 

Mrs. Linden (who has read the card). Wliy, he lives 
close by here. 

60 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act ii 

Nora. Yes, but it's no use now. We are lost. The 
letter is there in the box. 

Mrs. Linden. And your husband has the key ? 

Nora. Always. 

Mrs. Linden. Krogstad must demand his letter back, 
unread. He must find some pretext 

Nora. But this is the very time when Torvald gen- 
erally 

Mrs. Linden. Prevent him. Keep him occupied. I 
shall come back as quickly as I can. 

[She goes out hastily by the hall door.] 

Nora {opens Helmer's door and peeps in). Torvald ! 

Helmer. Well, may one come into one's own room 

again at last ? Come, Rank, we'll have a look 

(In the doorway.) But how's this ? 

Nora. What, Torvald dear ? 

Helmer. Rank led me to expect a grand transfor- 
mation. 

Rank (in the doorway). So I understood. I suppose I 
was mistaken. 

Nora. No, no one shall see me in my glory till to- 
morrow evening. 

Helmer. Why, Nora dear, you look so tired. Have 
you been practising too hard ? 

Nora. No, I haven't practised at all yet. 

Helmer. But you'll have to 

Nora. Oh yes, I must, I must ! But, Torvald, I 
can't get on at all without your help. I've forgotten 
everything. 

Helmer. Oh, we shall soon freshen it up again. 

Nora. Yes, do help me, Torvald. You must promise 

me Oh, I'm so nervous about it. Before so many 

people This evening you must give yourself up 

entirely to me. You mustn't do a stroke of work ; you 
mustn't even touch a pen. Do promise, Torvald dear ! 

Helmer. I promise. All this evening I shall be your 

slave. Little helpless thing ! But, by the bye, I 

must just [Going to hall door.] 

61 



Act II] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Nora. What do you want there ? 
Helmer. Only to see if there are any letters. 
Nora. No, no, don't do that, Torvald. 
Helmer. Why not ? 

Nora. Torvald, I beg you not to. There are none 
there. 

Helmer. Let me just see. 
[Is going. Nora, at the piano, plays the first bars of the 
tarantella.'] 
Helmer {at the door, stops). Aha ! 

Nora. I can't dance to-morrow if I don't rehearse 
with you first. 

Helmer (going to her). Are you really so nervous, dear 
Nora ? 

Nora. Yes, dreadfully ! Let me rehearse at once. 
We have time before dinner. Oh, do sit down and play 
for me, Torvald dear ; direct me and put me right, as 
you used to do. 

Helmer. With all the pleasure in life, since you wish it. 
[Sits at the piano. Nora snatches the tambourine out of 
the box, and hurriedly drapes herself in a long parti- 
coloured shawl ; then, with a bound, stands in the 
middle of the floor.] 
Nora. Now play for me ! Now Til dance ! 
[Helmer plays and Nora dances. Rank stands at the piano 
behind Helmer and looks on.] 
Helmer (playing). Slower ! Slower 1 
Nora. Can't do it slower ! 
Helmer. Not so violently, Nora. 
Nora. I must ! I must ! 

Helmer (stops). No, no, Nora — that will never do. 
Nora (laughs and swings her tambourine). Didn't I tell 
you so ! 

Rank. Let me play for her. 

Helmer (rising). Yes, do — then I can direct her better. 

[Rank sits down to the piano and plays ; Nora dances more 

and more wildly. Helmer stands by the stove and 

addresses frequent directions to her ; she seems not ta 

62 



^ ^ nzx^ 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act ii 

hear. Her hair breaks loose, and falls over her 
shoulders. She does not notice it, hut goes on danc- 
ing. Mrs. Linden enters, and stands spellbound in 
the doorway.'] 

Mrs. Linden. Ah ! 

Nora [dancing). We're having such fun here, Chris- 
tina ! 

Helmer. Why, Noradear, you're dancingjas if it were^ 
a matter of hfe and death. 

Nora. So it is. 

Helmer. Rank, stop ! This is the merest madness. 
Stop, I say ! 

[Rank stops playing, and Nora comes to a sudden stand- 
still.] 

Helmer (going towards her). I couldn't have beUeved 
it. You've positively forgotten all I taught you. 

Nora {throws the tambourine away). You see for your- 
self. 

Helmer. You really do want teaching. 

Nora. Yes, you see how much I need it. You must 
practise with me up to the last moment. Will you 
promise me, Torvald ? 

Helmer. Certainly, certainly. 

Nora. Neither to-day nor to-morrow must you think 
of anything but me. You mustn't open a single letter — 
mustn't look at the letter-box. 

Helmer. Ah, you're still afraid of that man 

Nora. Oh yes, yes, I am. 

Helmer. Nora, I can see it in your face — there's a 
letter from him in the box. 

Nora. I don't know, I believe so. But you're not to 
read anything now ; nothing ugly must come between 
us until all is over. 

Rank (softly, to Helmer). You mustn't contradict her. 

Helmer (putting his arm around her). The child shall 
have her own way. But to-morrow night, when the 
dance is over 

Nora. Then you shall be free. 
63 



Act II] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

[Ellen appears in the doorway, right!] 

Ellen. Dinner is on the table, ma'am. 

Nora. We'll have some champagne, Ellen. 

Ellen. Yes, ma'am. [Goes out.] 

Helmer. Dear me ! Quite a banquet. 

Nora. Yes, and we'll keep it up tiU morning. (Calling 
otd.) And macaroons, Ellen — plenty — just this once. 

Helmer {seizing her hand). Come, come, don't let us 
have this wild excitement ! Be my own little lark again. 

Nora. Oh yes, I will. But now go into the dining- 
room ; and you too. Doctor Rank. Christina, you 
must help me to do up my hair. 

Rank [softly, as they go). There's nothing in the wind ? 
Nothing — I mean ? 

Helmer. Oh no, nothing of the kind. It's merely this 
babyish anxiety I was telling you about. 

[They go out to the right.] 

Nora. Well? 

Mrs. Linden. He's gone out of town. 

Nora. I saw it in your face. 

Mrs. Linden. He comes back to-morrow evening. I 
left a note for him. 

Nora. You shouldn't have done that. Things must 
take their course. After all, there's something glorious 
in waiting for the miracle. 

Mrs. Linden. What is it you're waiting for ? 

Nora. Oh, you can't understand. Go to them in the 
dining-room ; I shall come in a moment. 
[Mrs. Linden goes into the dining-room. Nora stands for 
a moment as though collecting her thoughts ; then looks 
at her watch.] 

Nora. Five. Seven hours till midnight. Then 
twenty-four hours till the next midnight. Then the 
tarantella will be over. Twenty-four and seven ? 
Thirty-one hours to live. 

[Helmer appears at the door, right.] 

Helmer. What has become of my little lark ? 

Nora (runs to him with open arms). Here she is I 
64 




ACT III 

The same room. The table, with the chairs around it, in 
the middle. A lighted lamp on the table. The door to the 
hall stands open. Dance music is heard from the floor above. 

Mrs. Linden sitfs by the table and absently turns the 
pages of a book. She tries to read, but seems unable to fix 
her attention ; she frequently listens, and looks anxiously 
towards the hall door. 

Mrs. Linden (looks at her watch). Not here yet ; and 

the time is nearly up. If only he hasn't [Listens 

again.) Ah, there he is. {She goes into the hall and 
cautiously opens the outer door ; soft footsteps are heard on 
the stairs ; she whispers.) Come in ; there is no one here. 

Krogstad (in the doorway). I found a note from you at 
my house. What does it mean ? 

Mrs. Linden. I m u s t speak to you. 

Krogstad. Indeed ? And in this house ? 

Mrs. Linden. I could not see you at my rooms. . 
They have no separate entrance. Come in ; we are • 
quite alone. The servants are asleep, and the Helmers 
are at the ball upstairs. 

Krogstad (coming into the room). Ah ! So the Helmers 
axe dancing this evening ? Really ? 

Mrs. Linden. Yes. Why not ? 

Krogstad. Quite right. Why not ? 

Mrs. Linden. And now let us talk a little. 

Krogstad. Have we two anything to say to each other ? 

Mrs. Linden. A great deal. 

Krogstad. I should not have thought so. 

Mrs. Linden. Because you have never really under- 
stood me. 

65 



Act III] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Krogstad. What was there to understand ? The most 
natural thing in the world — a heartless woman throws a 
man over when a better match offers. 

Mrs. Linden. Do you really think me so heartless ? 
Do you think I broke with you lightly ? 

Krogstad. Did you not ? 

Mrs. Linden. Do you really think so ? 

Krogstad. If not, why did you write me that lettei: ? 

Mrs. Linden. Was it not best ? Since I had to break 
with you, was it not right that I should try to put an 
end to all that you felt for me ? 

Krogstad {clenching his hands together). So that was it ? 
And all this — for the sake of money ! 

Mrs. Linden. You ought not to forget that I had a 
helpless mother and two little brothers. We could not 
wait for you, Nils, as your prospects then stood. 

Krogstad. Perhaps not ; but you had no right to 
cast me off for the sake of others, whoever the others 
might be. 

Mrs. Linden. I don't know. I have often asked 
myself whether I had the right. 

Krogstad (more softly). When I had lost you, I seemed 
to have no firm ground left imder my feet. Look at me 
now. I am a shipwrecked man, clinging to a spar. 

Mrs. Linden. Rescue may be at hand. 

Krogstad. It was at hand; but then you came and 
stood in the way. 

Mrs. Linden. Without my knowledge. Nils. I did not 
know till to-day that it was you I was to replace in the 
Bank. 

Krogstad. Well, I take your word for it. But now 
that you do know, do you mean to give way ? 

Mrs. Linden. No, for that would not help you in 
the least. 

Krogsiad. Oh, help, help ! I should do it whether 

or no. 

Mrs. Linden. I have learnt prudence. Life and bitter 
necessity have schooled me. 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act hi 

Krogstad. And life has taught me not to trust fine 
speeches. 

Mrs. Linden. Then Hfe has taught you a very sensible 
thing. But deeds you will trust ? 

Krogstad. What do you mean ? 

Mrs. Linden. You said you were a shipwrecked man, 
cUnging to a spar. 

Krogstad. I have good reason to say so. 

Mrs. Linden. I too am shipwrecked, and clinging to 
a spar. I have no one to mourn for, no one to care for. 

Krogstad. You made your own choice. 

Mrs. Linden. No choice was left me. 

Krogstad. Well, what then ? 

Mrs. Linden. Nils, how if we two shipwrecked people 
could join hands ? 

Krogstad. What ! 

Mrs. Linden. Twq on a raft have a better chance than 
if each clings to a separate spar. 

Krogstad. Christina ! 

Mrs. Linden. What do you think brought me to town ? 

Krogstad. Had you any thought of me ? 

Mrs. Linden. I must have work or I can't bear to live. 
All my life, as long as I can remember, I have worked ; 
work has been my one great joy. Now I stand quite 
alone in the world, aimless and forlorn. There is no 
happiness in working for one's self. Nils, give me some-, 
body and something to work for. 

Krogstad. I cannot believe in all this. It is simply a 
woman's romantic craving for self-sacrifice. 

Mrs. Linden. Have you ever found me romantic ? 

Krogstad. Would you really ? Tell me : do you 

know all my past ? 

Mrs. Linden. Yes. 

Krogstad. And do you know what people say of me ? 

Mrs. Linden. Did you not say just now that with me 
you could have been another man ? 

Krogstad. I am sure of it. 

Mrs. Linden. Is it too late ? 
67 



Act hi] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Krogstad. Christina, do you know what you are 
doing ? Yes, you do ; I see it in your face. Have you 
the courage then ? 

Mrs. Linden. I need some one to be a mother to, and 
your children need a mother. You need me, and I — I 
need you. Nils, I believe in your better self. With you 
I fear nothing. 

Krogstad {seizing her hands). Thank you — thank you, 
Christina. Now I shall make others see me as you do. — 
Ah, I forgot 

Mrs. Linden (listening) . Hush ! The tarantella ! Go ! 
go! 

Krogstad. Why ? What is it ? 

Mrs. Linden. Don't you hear the dancing overhead ? 
As soon as that is over they will be here. 

Krogstad. Oh yes, I shall go. Nothing will come of 
this, after all. Of course, you don't know' the step I 
have taken against the Helmers. 

Mrs. Linden. Yes, Nils, I do know. 

Krogstad. And yet you have the courage to ? 

Mrs. Linden. I know to what lengths despair can 
drive a man. 

Krogstad. Oh, if I could only undo it ! 

Mrs. Linden. You could. Your letter is still in the 
box. 

Krogstad. Are you sure ? 

Mrs. Linden. Yes ; but • 

Krogstad {looking at her searchingly) . Is that what it 
all means ? You want to save your friend at any price. 
Say it out — is that your idea ? 

Mrs. Linden. Nils, a woman who has once sold herself 
for the sake of others, does not do so again. 

Krogstad. I shall demand my letter back again. 

Mrs. Linden. No, no. 

Krogstad. Yes, of course. I shall wait till Helmer 
comes ; I shall tdl him to give it back to me — that it's 
only about my dismissal — that I don't want it read 

Mrs. Linden. No, Nils, you must not recall the letter. 
68 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act hi 

Krogstad. But tell me, wasn't that just why you got 
me to come here ? 

Mrs. Linden. Yes, in my first alarm. But a day has 
passed since then, and in that day I have seen incredible 
things in this house. g|^]rT.^t- t^^cf Vr^r^^^r ^.^j^^^^Wi^'^r ', 

thej[;gjaus^ig^jy;^fld,Jj3aiyiJSJU^^ 

two must come to a full understanding. XheizL-miist 



,tikVa r . r .s, r jlViM ilillKaiTg5fgP WAJJH.M-4H 



^( Krogstad. Very well, if you like to risk it. But one 

\y ' .^"t''*^^ thing I can do, and at once 

P^^r^^/ Mrs. Linden (listening). Make haste ! Go, go ! The 

^*^j^ dance is over ; we're not safe another moment. 

^^ Krogstad. I shall wait for you in the street. 

Mrs. Linden, Yes, do ; you must see me home. 
Krogstad. I never was so happy in all my Ufe ! 
[Krogstad goes out by the outer door. The door between the 
room and the hall remains open.] 
Mrs. Linden {arranging the room and getting her outdoor 
things together). What a change ! What a change ! To 
have some one to w6rk for, to live for ; a home to make 
happy ! Well, it shall not be my fault if I fail. — I wish 
they would come. — (Listens.) Ah, here^ they are ! I 
must get my things on. 

[Takes bonnet and cloak. Helmer's and Nora's voices are 

heard outside, a key is iurned in the lock, and Helmer 

drags Nora almost by force into the hall. She wears the 

Italian costume with a large black shawl over it. He 

is in evening dress, and wears a black domino, open.] 

Nora (struggling with him in the doorway). No, no, no ! 

I won't go in ! I want to go upstairs again ; I don't 

want to leave so early ! 

Helmer. But, my dearest girl ! 

Nora. Oh, please, please, Torvald, I beseech you — 
only one hour more ! , 

Helmer. Not one minute more, Nora dear ; you know 
what we agreed. Come, come in ; you're catching cold 
here. 

[He leads her gently into the room in spite of her resistance.^ 

69 



Act III] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Mrs. Linden. Good-evening. 

Nora. Christina ! 

Helmer. What, Mrs. Linden ! You here so late ? 

Mrs. Linden. Yes, I ought to apologize. I did so 
want to see Nora in her costume. 

Nora. Have you been sitting here waiting for me ? 

Mrs. Linden. Yes ; unfortunately I came too late. 
You had gone upstairs already, and I felt I couldn't go 
away without seeing you. 

Helmer (taking Noras shawl off). Well then, just look 
at her ! I assure you she's worth it. Isn't she lovely, 
Mrs. Linden ? 

Mrs. Linden. Yes, I must say 

Helmer. Isn't she exquisite ? Every one said so. 
But she's dreadfully obstinate, dear little creature. 
What's to be done with her ? Just think, I had almost 
to force her away. 

Nora. Oh, Torvald, you'll be sorry some day that 
you didn't let me stay, if only for one half-hour more. 

Helmer. There ! You hear her, Mrs. Linden ? She 
dances her tarantella with wild applause, and well she 
deserved it, I must say — though there was, perhaps, a 
little too much nature in her rendering of the idea — 
more than was, strictly speaking, artistic. But never 
mind — the point is, she made a great success, a tre- 
mendous success. Was I to let her remain after that — 
to weaken the impression ? Not if I know it. I took 
my sweet Mttle Capri girl — my capricious little Capri 
girl, I might say — under my arm ; a rapid turn round 
the room, a curtsey to all sides, and — as they say in 
novels — the lovely apparition vanished ! An exit should 
always be effective, Mrs. Linden ; but I can't get Nora 
to see it. By Jove ! it's warm here. (Throws his 
domino on a chair and opens the door to his room.) What ! 

No light there ? Oh, of course. Excuse me 

[Goes in and lights candles.] 

Nora (whispers breathlessly). Well ? 
Mrs, Linden (softly). I've spoken to him. 
70 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act hi 

Nora. And ? 

Mrs. Linden. Nora — you must tell your husband 
everything 

Nora {tonelessly) . 1 knew it ! 

Mrs. Linden. You have nothing to fear from Krogstad ; 
but you must speak out. 

Nora. I shall not speak. 

Mrs. Linden. Then the letter will. 

Nora. Thank you, Christina. ^(^"^ T kno\Y what I 
]^^vp to An Hush ! 

Helmer (coming hack). Well, Mrs. Linden, have you 
admired her ? 

Mrs. Linden. Yes ; and now I must say good-night. 

Helmer. What, already ? Does this knitting belong 
to you ? 

Mrs. Linden [takes it). Yes, thanks; I was nearly 
forgetting it. 

Helmer. Then you do knit ? 

Mrs. Linden. Yes. 

Helmer. Do you know, you ought to embroider in- 
stead ? 

Mrs. Linden. Indeed ! Why ? 

Helmer. Because it's so much prettier. Look now ! 
You hold the embroidery in the left hand so, and then 
work the needle with the right hand, in a long, graceful 
curve — don't you ? 

Mrs. Linden. Yes, I suppose so. 

Helmer. But knitting is always ugly. Just look — 
your arms close to your sides, and the needles going up 
and down — there's something Chinese about it. — They 
really gave us splendid champagne to-night. 

Mrs. Linden. Well, good-night, Nora, and don't be 
obstinate any more. 

Helmer. Well said, Mrs. Linden ! 

Mrs. Linden. Good-night, Mr. Helmer. 

Helmer {accompanying her to the door). Good-night, 
good-night ; I hope you'll get safely home. I should 
be glad to — but you have such a short way to go. 

71 



Act III] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Good-night, good-night. {She goes ; Helmer shuts the 
door after her, and comes forward again.) At last we've 
got rid of her : she's a terrible bore. 

Nora. Aren't you very tired, Torvald ? 

Helmer. No, not in the least. 

Nora. Nor sleepy ? 

Helmer. Not a bit, I feel particularly lively. But 
you ? You do look tired and sleepy. 

Nora. Yes, very tired. I shall soon sleep now. 

Helmer. There, you see. I was right after all not to 
let you stay longer. 

Nora. Oh, everything you do is right. 

Helmer {M'sstngJier forehead). Now my lark is speaking 
like a reasonable being. Did you notice how jolly Rank 
was this evening ? 

Nora. Indeed ? Was he ? i had no chance of speak- 
ing to him. 

Helmer. Nor I, much ; but I haven't seen him in such 
good spirits for a long time. (Looks at Nora a little, then 
comes nearer her.) It's splendid to be back in our own 
home, to be quite alone together ! — Oh, you enchanting 
creature ! 

Nora. Don't look at me in that way, Torvald. 

Helmer. I am not to look at my dearest treasure ? — at 
all the loveliness that is mine, mine only, wholly and 
'entirely mine ? 

Nora (goes to the other side of the table). You mustn't 
say these things to me this evening. 

Helmer (following). I see you have the tarantella still 
in your blood — and that makes you all the more en- 
ticing. Listen ! the other people are going now. (More 
softly.) Nora — soon the whole house will be still. 

Nora. Yes, I hope so. 

Helmer. Yes, don't you, Nora darling ! When we are 
among strangers, do you know why I speak so little to 
you, and keep so far away, and only steal a glance at 
you now and then — do you know why I do it ? Because 
I am fancying that we love each other in secret, that I 

72 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act hi 

am secretly betrothed to you, and that no one dreams 
that there is anything between us. 

Nora. Yes, yes, yes. I know all your thoughts are 
with me. 

Helmer. And then, when the time comes to go, and I 
put the shawl about your smooth, soft shoulders, and 
this glorious neck of yours, I imagine you are my bride, 
that our marriage is just over, that I am bringing you 
for the first time to my home — that I am alone with you 
for the first time — quite alone with you, in your trem- 
bling loveliness ! All this evening I have been longing 
for you, and you only. When I watched you swajdng 
and whirling in the tarantella — my blood boiled — ^I 
could endure it no longer ; and that's why I made you 
come home with me so early 

Nora. Go now, Torvald ! Go away from me, I 
won't have all this. 

Helmer. What do you mean ? Ah, I see you're 
teasing me, little Nora ! Won't — won't ! Am I not 
your husband ? [A knock at the outer door.] 

Nora {starts). Did you hear ? 

Helmer {going towards the hall). Who's there ? 

Rank {outside). It is I ; may I come in for a moment ? 

Helmer {in a low tone, annoyed). Oh ! what can he 
want just now ? {Aloud.) Wait a moment. {Opens 
door.) Come, it's nice of you to look in. 

Rank. I thought I heard your voice, and that put it 
into my head. {Looks round.) Ah, this dear old place ! 
How cosy you two are here ! 

Helmer. You seemed to find it pleasant enough up- 
stairs, too. 

Rank. Exceedingly. Why not ? Why shouldn't one 
take one's share of everything in this world ? All one 
can, at least, and as long as one can. The wine was 
splendid 

Helmer. Especially the champagne. 

Rank. Did you notice it ? It's incredible the quan- 
tity I contrived to get down. 

73 



Act III] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Nora. Torvald drank plenty of champagne, too. 

Rank. Did he? 

Nora. Yes, and it always puts him in such spirits. 

Rank. Well, why shouldn't one have a jolly evening 
after a well-spent day ? 

Helmer. Well spent ! Well, I haven't much to boast 
of in that respect. 

Rank (slapping him on the shoulder). But I have, 
don't you see ? 

Nora. I suppose you have been engaged in a scientific 
investigation, Doctor Rank ? 

Rank. Quite right. 
^ Helmer. Bless me! Little Nora talking about scientific 

• J ' investigations i 
^' ' Nora. Am I to congratulate you on the result ? 

Rank. By all means. 

Nora. It was good, then ? 

Rank. The best possible, both for doctor and patient 
— certainty. 

Nora {quickly and searchingly) . Certainty ? 

Rank. Absolute certainty. Wasn't I right to enjoy 
myself after that ? 

Nora. Yes, quite right, Doctor Rank. 

Helmer. And so say I, provided you don't have to pay 
for it to-morrow. 

Rank. Well, in this life nothing is to be had for nothing. 

Nora. Doctor Rank — I'm sure you are very fond of 
masquerades ? 

Rank. Yes, when there are plenty of amusing dis- 
guises 

Nora. Tell me, what shall we two be at our next 
masquerade ? 

Helmer. Little featherbrain ! Thinking of your next 
already ! 

Rank. We two ? I'll tell you. You must go as a 
good fairy. 

Helmer. Ah, but what costume would indicate that? 

Rank. She has simply to wear her everyday dress. 
74 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act hi 

Helmer. Capital ! But don't you know what you will 
be yourself ? 

Rank. Yes, my dear friend, I am perfectly clear upon 
that point. 

Helmer. Well? 

Rank. At the next masquerade I shall be invisible. 

Helmer. What a comical idea ! 

Rank. There's a big black hat — haven't you heard of 
the invisible hat ? It comes down all over you, and 
then no one can see you. 

Helmer (with a suppressed smile). No, you're right there. 

Rank. But I'm quite forgetting what I came for. 
Helmer, give me a cigar — one of the dark Havanas. 

Helmer. With the greatest pleasure. 

[Hands cigar-case.'] 

Rank (takes one and cuts the end off). Thank you. 

Nora (striking a wax match). Let me give you a light. 

Rank. A thousand thanks. 

[She holds the match. He lights his cigar at it.l 

Rank. And now, good-bye ! 

Helmer. Good-bye, good-bye, my dear fellow. 

Nora. Sleep well, Doctor Rank. 

Rank. Thanks for the wish. 

Nora. Wish me the same. 

Rank. You ? Very well, since you ask me — Sleep 
well. And thanks for the hght. 

[He nods to them both and goes out.] 

Helmer (in an undertone). He's been drinking a good 
deal. 

Nora (absently). I daresay. (Helmer takes his bunch 
of keys from his pocket and goes into the hall.) Torvald, 
what are you doing there ? 

Helmer. I must empty the letter-box ; it's quite full ; 
there will be no room for the newspapers to-morrow 
morning. 

Nora. Are you going to work to-night ? 

Helmer. You know very well I am not. — Why, how 
is this ? Some one has been at the lock. 

75 



Act III] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Nora. The lock ? 



Helmer. I'm sure of it. What does it mean ? I 

can't think that the servants ? Heme's a broken 

hairpin. Nora, it's one of yours. 

Nora {quickly). It must have been the children 

Helmer. Then you must break them of such tricks. 
— ^There ! At last I've got it open. (Takes contents out 
and calls into the kitchen.) Ellen ! — Ellen, just put the 
hall door lamp out. 

[He returns with letters in his hand, and shuts the inner 
door.] 

Helmer. Just see how they've accumulated. {Turning 
them over.) Why, what's this ? 

Nora {at the window). The letter ! Oh no, no, Tor- 
vald! 

Helmer. Two visiting-cards — from Rank. 

Nora. From Doctor Rank ? 

Helmer {looking at them). Doctor Rank. They were 
on the top. He must just have put them in. 

Nora. Is there anything on them ? 

Helmer. There's a black cross over the name. Look 
at it. What an unpleasant idea ! It looks just as if he 
were announcing his own death. 

Nora. So he is. 

Helmer. What ! Do you know anything ? Has he 
told you anything ? 

Nora. Yes. These cards mean that he has taken his 
last leave of us. He is going to shut himself up and die. 

Helmer. Poor fellow ! Of course I knew we couldn't 

hope to keep him long. But so soon ! And to go 

and creep into his lair Hke a wounded animal 

Nora. When we must go, it is best to go silently. 
Don't you think so, Torvald ? 

Helmer {walking up and down). He had so grown into 
our lives, I can't reahze that he is gone. He and his 
sufferings and his loneliness formed a sort of cloudy 
background to the sunshine of our happiness. — Well, 
perhaps it's best as it is — at any rate for him. {Stands 

76 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act hi 

still.) And perhaps for us too, Nora. Now we two are 
thrown entirely upon each other. ( Takes her in his arms.) 
My darhng wife ! I feel as if I could never hold you close 
enough. Do you know, Nora, I often wish some danger 
might threaten you, that I might risk body and soul, axui 
everything, everything, for your dear sake. 
'Nora (tears herself from him, and says firmly). Now 
you shall read your letters, Torvald. A* 

Helmer. No, no ; not to-night. I want to be with 
you, my sweet wife. 

Nora. With the thought of your dying friend ? 

Helmer. You are right. This has shaken us both. 
Unloveliness has come between us — thoughts of death 
and decay. We must seek to cast them off. Till then — 
we will remain apart. 

Nora {her arms round his neck). Torvald! Good- 
night ! good-night ! 

Helmer (kissing her forehead). Good-night, my little 
song-bird. Sleep well, Nora. Now I shall go and read 
my letters. 

[He goes with the letters in his hand into his room and shuts 
the door.] 

Nora (with wild eyes, gropes about her, seizes Helmer's 
domino, throws it round her, and whispers quickly, 
hoarsely, and brokenly). Never to see him again. Never, 
never, never. (Throws her shawl over her head.) Never 
to see the children again. Never, never. — Oh, that 

black, icy water ! Oh, that bottomless ! If it were 

only over ! Now he has it ; he's reading it. Oh, no, 

no, no, not yet. Torvald, good-bye- ! Good-bye, 

my little ones— — ! 

[She is rushing out by the hall ; at the same moment Helmer 
flings his door open, and stands there with an open 
letter in his hand.] 

Helmer. Nora ! 

Nora (shrieks). Ah ! 

Helmer. What is this ? Do you know what is in this 
letter ? 

77 



Act III] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Nora. Yes, I know. Let me go ! Let me pass ! 

Helmer (holds her hack). Where do you want to go ? 

ISIora (tries to break away from him). You shall not 
save me, Torvald. 

Helmer (falling hack). True ! Is what he writes true ? 
No, no, it is impossible that this can be true. 

Nora. It is true. I have loved you beyond all else in 
the world. 

Helmer. Pshaw — no siUy evasions ! 

Nora (a step nearer him). Torvald ! 

Helmer. Wretched woman — what have you done ! 

Nora. Let me go — you shall not save me ! You shall 
not take my guilt upon yourself ! 

Helmer. I don't want any melodramatic airs. (Locks 
the outer door.) Here you shall stay and give an account 
of yourself. Do you understand what you have done ? 
Answer ! Do you understand it ? 

Nora (looks at him fixedly, and says with a stiffening 
expression). Yes ; now I begin fully to understand it. 

Helmer (walking up and down). Oh ! what an awful 
awakening ! During aU these eight years — she who was 
my pride and my joy — a hypocrite, a liar — worse, worse 
— ^a criminal. Oh, the unfathomable hideousness of it 
aUl Ugh! Ugh! 

^\Nora says nothing, and continues to look fixedly at 
him.] 

Helmer. I ought to have known how it would be. I 
ought to have foreseen it. All your father's want of 
principle— be silent ! — all your father's want of principle 
you have inherited — no religio n, no morality, no sen se 
ofduty. How I arn punlshfed lor screening him ! I 
diH It lor your sake ; and you reward me Uke this. 

Nora. Yes — like this ! 

Helmer. You have destroyed my whole happiness. 
You have ruined my future. Oh, it's frightful to think 
of ! I am in the power of a scoundrel ; he can do what- 
ever he pleases with me, demand whatever he chooses ; 
he can domineer over me as much as he hkes, and I must 

78 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act hi 

submit. And all this disaster and ruin is brought upon 
me by an unprincipled woman ! 

Nora. When I am out of the world you will be free. 

Helmer. Oh, no fine phrases. Your father, too, was 
always ready with them. What good would it do me, 
if you were " out of the world," as you say ? No good 
whatever ! He can publish the story all the same ; I 
might even be suspected of collusion. People will think 
I was at the bottom of it all and egged you on. And 
for all this I have you to thank — you whom I have done 
nothing but pet and spoil during our whole married hfe. 
Do you understand now what you have done to me ? 

Nora {with cold calmness). Yes. 

Helmer. The thing is so incredible, I can't grasp it. 
But we must come to an understanding. Take that 
shawl off. Take it off, I say ! I must try to pacify him 
in one way or another — the matter must be hushed up, 
cost what it may. — As for you and me, we must make 
no outward change in our way of hfe — no outward 
change, you understand. Of course, you will continue 
to hve here. But the children cannot be left in your 
care. I dare not trust them to you. — Oh, to have 
to say this to one I have loved so tenderly — whom 

I stiU ! But that must be a thing of the past. 

Henceforward there can be no question of happiness, 

but merely of saving the ruins, the shreds, the show 

[A ring ; Helmer starts.) What's that ? So late ! Can 

it be the worst? Can he ? Hide yourself, Nora; 

say you are ill. 

[A^ora stands motionless. Helmer goes to the door and 
opens it.'] 

Ellen {half dressed, in the hall). Here is a letter for you, 
ma'am. 

Helmer. Give it to me. (Seises the letter and shuts the 
door.) Yes, from him. You shall not have it. I shall 
read it. 

Nora. Read it ! 

Helmer {by the lamp). I have hardly the courage to. 
79 4 



Act III] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

We may both be lost, both you and L Ah! I must 
know. {Hastily tears the letter open ; reads a few lines, 
looks at an enclosure ; with a cry of joy.) Mora ! 

[Nora looks inquiringly at him.] 

Helmer. Nora ! — Oh ! I must read it again. — Yes, yes, 
it is so. I am saved ! Nora, I am saved ! 

Nora. 'And I ? 

Helmer. You too, of course ; we are both saved, both 
of us. Look here — he sends you back your promissory 
note. He writes that he regrets and apologizes, that a 

happy turn in his life Oh, what matter what he 

writes. We are saved, Nora ! No one can harm you. 

Oh, Nora, Nora ; but first to get rid of this hateful 

thing. I'll just see {Glances at the lOU.) No, 

I wiUjnO-L look at it i_the_whole thinc^ sha ll be nothi ng 
but_a dream t<7 V f\? (fears thTTTTU and both letters in 
'piecesT^Throws them into the fire and watches them hum.) 
There ! it's gone ! — He said that ever since Christmas 

Eve Oh, Nora, they must have been three terrible 

days for you ! 

Nora. I have fought a hard fight for the last three 
days. 

Helmer. And in your agony you saw no other outlet 

but No ; we won't think of that horror. We will 

only rejoice and repeat — it's over, all over ! Don't you 
hear, Nora ? You don't seem able to grasp it. Yes, 
it's over. What is this set look on your face ? Oh, my 
poor Nora, I understand ; you cannot believe that I 
have forgiven you. But I have, Nora ; I swear it. I- 
have forgiven everything. I know that what you did 
was all for love of me. 

Nora. That is true. 

Helmer. You loved me as a wife should love her 
husband. It was only the means that, in your inex- 
perience, you misjudged. But do you think I love you 
the less because you cannot do without guidance ? No, 
no. Only lean on me ; I will counsel you, and guide 
you. I should be no true man if this very womanly 

80 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act hi 

helplessness did not make you doubly dear in my eyes. 
You mustn't dwell upon the hard things I said in my 
first moment of terror, when the world seemed to be 
tumbling about my ears. I have forgiven you, Nora — 
I swear I have forgiven you. 

Nora. I thank you for your forgiveness. 

[Goes out, to the right.'] 

Helmer. No, stay ! (Looking through the doorway.) 

What are you going to do ? 

Nora (inside). To take off my masquerade dress. 

Helmer (in the doorway). Yes, do, dear. Try to calm 
down, and recover your balance, my scared little song- 
bird. You may rest secure. L have broad wings to 
shield you. (Walking up and down near the door.) Oh, 
how lovely — how cosy our home is, Nora ! Here you 
are safe ; here J can shelter you like a hunted dove 
whom I have saved from the claws of the hawk. JLshall 
soon bnng your poor beating heart to rest ; believe me, 
Nora, very soon. To-morrow all this will seem quite 
different — everything will be as before. JLshall not need 
to tell you again that J forgive you ; you will feel for 
yourself that it is true. How could you think I could 
find it in my heart to drive you away, or even so much 
as to reproach you ? Oh, you don't know a true man's 
heart, Nora. There is^^sornething indesc ribably sweet 
and soothing to a man in having^ forgiven his _ wife — 
honestly forgiven " her, ffonnHe bottom of his heart. 
S he become'This property in a double sense. She is as 
though born again ; she has become, so to speak, at 
once his wife and his child. That is what you shall 
henceforth be to me, my bewildered, helpless darling. 
Don't be troubled about anything, Nora ; only open 
your heact to me, and I will be both will and conscience 
to you. (Nora enters in everyday dress.) Why, what's 
this ? Not gone to bed ? You have changed your 
dress ? 

Nora. Yes, Torvald ; now I have changed my dress. 

Helmer, But why now, so late ? 

81 



Act III] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Nora. I shall not sleep to-night. 

Helmer. But, Nora dear 

Nora {looking at her watch). It's not so late yet. Sit 
down, Torvald ; you and I have much to say to each 
other. [She sits at one side of the table.] 

Helmer. Nora — what does this mean ? Your cold, set 
face 

Nora. Sit down. It will take some time. I have 
much to talk over with you. 

[Helmer sits at the other side of the table.'] 

Helmer. You alarm me, Nora. I don't understand you. 

Nora. No, that is just it. You don't understand me ; 
and I have never understood you — till to-night. No, 
don't interrupt. Only listen to what I say. — We must 
come to a final settlement, Torvald. 

Helmer. How do you mean ? 

Nora {after a short silence). Does not one thing strike 
you as we sit here ? 

Helmer. What should strike me ? 

Nora. We have been married eight years. Does it 
not strike you that this is the first time we two, you 
and I, man and wife, have talked together seriously ? 

Helmer. Seriously ! What do you call seriously ? 

Nora. During eight whole years, and more — ever since 
the day we first met — we have never exchanged one 
serious word about serious things. 

Helpter. Was I always to trouble you with the cares 
you could not help me to bear ? 

Nora. I am not talking of cares. I say that we have 
never yet set ourselves seriously to get to the bottom of 
anything. 

Helmer. Why, my dearest Nora, what have you to do 
with serious things ? 

Nora. There we have it ! You have never understood 
me. — I have_had_great injustice done me, Torvald ; first 
by father, and then by you. ' 

Helmer. What ! By your father and me ? — By us, 
who have loved you more than all the world ? 

82 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act hi 

Nora [shaking her head). You have never lo ved me._ 
You_only J^honght it amusing to be in lo ve wi^h me. 

' Helmer. AYEy, Nbra, what a thing to say ! 

Nora. Yes, it is so, Torvald. While I was at home 
with father, he used to tell me all his opinions, and I \ 
held the same opinions. If I had others I said nothing I 
about them, because he wouldn't have liked it. He . 
used to call me his doll-child, and played with me as I j 
played with my dolls. Then I came to hve in your ' 
house 

Helmer. What an expression to use about our mar- 
riage ! 

Nora {undisturbed). I mean I passed from father's ^ 
hands into yours. You arranged everything according 
to your taste ; and I got the same tastes as you ; or I 
pretended to — I don't know which — both ways, perhaps ; 
sometimes one and sometimes the other. When I look 
back on it now, I seem to have been living here like a 
beggar, from hand to mouth. I lived by performing 
tricks for you, Torvald. But you would have it so. 
You and father have done me a great wrong. It is your 
fault that my life has come to nothing. 

Helmer. Why, Nora, how unreasonable and ungrateful 
you are ! Have you not been happy here ? 

Nora. No, never. I thought I was ; but I never was. ^ 

Helmer. Not — not happy ! / H'^^^.^j^ 

Nora. No ; only merry. And you have always been -^ft 
so kind to me. But our house has been nothing but a 
playroom. Here I have been your doll- wife, just as at 
home I used to be papa's doll-child. And the children, 
in their turn, have been my dolls. I thought it fun 
when you played with me, just as the children did when 
I played with them. That has been our marriage, 
Torvald. 

Helmer. There is some truth in what yousay^. exa^ 
gerated and overstramed~ though It be. But henceforth 
it shall be different. Playtime is over ; now comes the 
time for education. 

83 



Act III] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Nora. Whose education ? Mine, or the children's ? 

Helmer. Both, my dear Nora. 

Nora. Oh, Torvald, you are not the man tO_,tgaclumfc 
to be a fit wife for you. 
"Helmer. And you can say that ? 

Nora. And I — how have I prepared myself to educate 
the children ? 

Helmer. Nora ! 

Nora. Did you not say yourself, a few minutes ago, 
you dared not trust them to me ? 

Helmer. In the excitement of the moment ! Why 
should you dwell upon that ? 

Nora. No — you were perfectly right. That problem 
is beyond me. There is another to be solved first — I 
must try to educate myself. You are not the man to 
help me m that. I must set about it alone. And that 
is why I am leaving you. 

Helmer {jumping up) . What — do you mean to say ? 

Nora. I must stand quite alone if I am ever to 
know myself and my surroundings; so I cannot stay 
with you. 

Helmer. Nora ! Nora ! 

Nora. I am going at once. 1 daresay Christina will 
take me in for to-night 

Helmer. You are mad ! I shall not allow it ! I 
forbid it ! 

Nora. It is of no use your forbidding me anything 
now. I shall take with me what belongs to me. From 
you I will accept nothing, either now or afterwards. 

Helmer. What madness is this ! 

Nora. To-morrow I shall go home — I mean to what 
was my home. It will be easier for me to find some 
opening there. 

Helmer. Oh, in your blind inexperience 

Nora. I must try to g a i n experience, Torvald. 

Helmer. To forsake your home, your husband, and 
your children 1 And you don't consider what the world 
will say ! 

84 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act hi 

Nora. I can pay no heed to that. I only know that I 
must do it. 

Helmer. This is monstrous ! Can you forsake your 
hoUest duties in this way ? 

Nora. What do you consider my hoUest duties ? 

Helmer. Do I need to tell you that ? Your duties to 
your husband and your children. 

Nora. I have other duties equally sacred. 

Helmer. Impossible ! What duties do you mean ? 

Nora. My duties towards myself. 

Helmer. Before all else you are a wife and a mother. 

Nora. That I no longer believe. I believe that before 
all else I am a human being, just as much as you are — 
or at least that I should try to become one. I know 
that most people agree with you, Torvald, and that they 
say so in books. But henceforth I can't be satisfied 
with what most people say, and v/hat is in books. I 
must think things out for myself, and try to get clear 
about them. 

Helmer. Are you not clear about your place in your 
own home ? Have you not an infallible guide in ques- 
tions like these ? Have you not rehgion ? 

Nora. Oh, Torvald, I don't really know what reli- 
gion is. 

Helmer. What do you mean ? 

Nora. I know nothing but what Pastor Hansen told 
me when I was confirmed. He explained that religion 
was this and that. When I get away from all this and 
stand alone, I will look into that matter too. I will see 
whether what he taught me is right, or, at any rate, 
whether it is right for me. 

Helmer. Oh, this is unheard of ! And from so young 
a woman ! But if religion cannot keep you right, let 
me appeal to your conscience — for I suppose you have 
some moral feeling ? Or, answer me : perhaps you 
have none ? 

Nora. Well, Torvald, it's not easy to say. I really 
don't know — I am all at sea about these things. I only 

85 



Act III] A DOLL'S HOUSE 

know that I think quite differently from you about 
them. I hear, too, that the laws are different from 
what I thought ; but I can't believe that they can be 
right. It appears that a woman has no right to spare 
her dying father, or to save her husband's life ! I don't 
believe that. 

Helmer. You talk like a child. You don't understand 
the society in which you hve. 

Nora. No, I do not. But now I shall try to learn. 
I Qiust make up my..mind,which_jsxight:rrrsaci£ity-.Qr.X 

Helmer. Nora, you are ill ; you are feverish ; I almost 
think you are out of your senses. 

Nora. I have never felt so much clearness and cer- 
tainty as to-night 

Helmer, You are clear and certain enough to forsake 
husband and children ? 

Nora. Yes, I am. 

Helmer. Then there is onlv one explanation possible. 

Nora. What is that ? 

Helmer. You no longer love me. 

Nora. No ; that is just it. 

Helmer. Nora ! — Can you say so ! 

Nora. Oh, I'm so sorry, Torvald ; for you've always 
been so kind to me. But I can't help it. I do not love 
you any longer. 

Helmer {mastering himself with difficulty). Are you 
clear and certain on this point too ? 

Nora. Yes, quite. That is why I will not stay here 
any longer. 

Helmer. And can you also make clear to me how I 
have forfeited your love ? 

Nora. Yes, I can. It was this evening, when the 
miracle did not happen ; for then I saw you were not 
the man I had imagined. 

Helmer. Explain yourself more clearly ; I don't 
understand. 

Nora. I have waited so patiently all these eight years ; 
for of course I saw clearly enough that miracles don't 

86 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act hi 

happen every day. \\^en this crushing blow threatened 
me, I said to myself so confidently, *' Now comes _the 
miracle ! " When Krogstad's letter lay in the box, it > 
never for a moment occurred to me that you would 
think of submitting to that man's conditions. I was 
convinced that you would say to him, " Make it known 
to all the world ; " and that then 

Helmer. Well ? When I had given my own wife's 
name up to disgrace and shame -} 

Nora. Then I firmly beheved that you would come 
forward, take everything upon yourself, and say, " I am 
the guilty one." 

Helmer. Nora ! 

Nora. You mean I would never have accepted such 
a sacrifice? No, certainly not. But what would my 
assertions have been worth in opposition to yours ? — ' 
That was the miracle that I hoped for and dreaded? 
And it was to hinder that that I wanted to die. 

Helmer. I would gladly work for you day and night, 
Nora — bear sorrow and want for your sake. But no_ |/ . 

man sacrifices his honour, even for one he loves. y-r^ 

'~Nora. Millions of women have done so. *^^ 

Helmer. Oh, you think and talk like a silly child. 

Nora. Very likely. But you neither think nor talk;! 
Hke the man I can share my life with. When your.i 
terror was over — not for what threatened me, but for 
yourself — when there was nothing more to fear — then it 
seemed to you as though nothing had happened. I was 
your lark again, your doll, just as before — whom you 
would take twice as much care of in future, because 
she was so weak and fragile. {Stands up.) Torvald — in 
that moment it burst upon me that I had been Hving 
here these eight years with a strange man, and had 
borne him three children. — Oh, I can't bear to think of 
it ! I could tear myself to pieces ! 

Helmer {sadly). I see it, I see it ; an abyss has opened 
between us. — But, Nora, can it never be filled up ? 

Nora. As I now anCi, I am no wife for you. 

87 4« 



Act III] 



A DOLL'S HOUSE 



Helmer. I have strength to become another man. 

Nora. Perhaps— when your doll is taken away from you. 

Helmer. To part — to part from you ! No, Nora, no ; 
I can't grasp the thought. 

Nora {going into the room on the right). The more 
reason for the thing to happen. 

[She comes back with outdoor things and a small travelling- 
hag, which she places on a chair.'] 

Helmer. Nora, Nora, not now ! Wait till to-morrow. 

Nora (putting on cloak). I can't spend the night in a 
strange man's house. 

Helmer. But can we not live here, as brother and 
sister ? 

Nora (fastening her hat). You know very well that 
wouldn't last long. (Puts on the shawl.) Good-bye, 
Torvald. No, I won't go to the children. I know they 
are in better hands than mine. As I now am, I can be 
nothing to them. 

Helmer. But some time, Nora — some time ? 

Nora. How can I tell ? I have no idea what will 
become of me. 

Helmer. But you are my wife, now and always ! 

Nora. Listen, Torvald — when a wife leaves her hus- 
band's house, as I am doing, I have heard that in the 
' eyes of the law he is free from all duties towards her. 
At any rate I release you from all duties. You must 
not feel yourself bound, any more than I shall. There 
must be perfect freedom on both sides. There, I give 
you back your ring. Give me mine. 

Helmer. That too ? 

Nora. That too. 

Helmer. Here it is. 

Nora. Very well. Now it is all over. I lay the keys 
here. The servants know about everything in the 
house — better than I do. To-morrow, when I have 
started, Christina will come to pack up the things I 
brought with me from home. I will have them sent 
after me. 

88 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [Act hi 

Helmer. All over ! all over ! Nora^wilL_3H)u never 
think of me again ? 

Nora. Oh, I shall often think of you, and the children, 
and this house. 

Helmer. May I write to you, Nora ? 

Nora. No — never. You must not. 

Helmer. But I must send you 

Nora. Nothing, nothing. 

Helmer. I must help you if you need it. 

Nora. No, I say. I take nothing from strangers. 

Helmer. Nora — can I never be more than a stranger 
to you ? 

Nora (taking her travelling-hag). Oh, Torvald, then 
the miracle of miracles would have to happen 

Helmer. What is the miracle of miracles ? 

Nora. Both of us would have to change so that 

Oh, Torvald, I no longer believe in miracles. 

Helmer. But / will believe. Tell me ! We must so 
change that ? 

Nora. That communion between us shall be a mar- 
riage. Good-bye. [She goes out by the hall door.] 

Helmer {sinks into a chair by the door with his face in 
his hands). Nora ! Nora ! {He looks round and rises.) 
Empty. She is gone. {A hope springs up in him.) 

Ah ! The miracle of miracles ? 

[From below is heard the reverberation of a heavy door 
closing.] 



CURTAIN 



89 



CAST 



Helmer 

Krogstad 

Rank 

Porter 

Nora 

Mrs. Linden 

Anna 

Ellen 

The Three Children. 



In a small reading circle the small parts of Anna, Ellen, and the 
Children may very well be taken by one reader ; the Porter's one 
speech may be given to either Krogstad or Rank, and if necessary these 
two important parts can be " doubled." 

A very useful notebook for producer, stage-manager, or actor can 
be made by cutting the leaves out of two copies of the play and pasting 
them on alternate pages of an exercise book. 



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Ibsen. Henrik, 
1828-1906 
A doll ' s house 



■%%*